Leading Auckland mayoral contenders Phil Goff and John Tamihere have gone head-to-head in a live studio debate tonight from the Herald newsroom.

The 45-minute debate was livestreamed from 7pm at nzherald.co.nz and also on iHeartRadio.

Debate host Heather du Plessis-Allan was then joined in the newsroom by New Zealand Herald journalists Simon Wilson and Bernard Orsman to analyse the discussion. Wilson declined to call a clear winner, while Orsman believes Goff came out on top tonight.

The race to win the city's top job has already proven a noisy one with both Goff and Tamihere prepared to engage in plenty of verbal slanging.

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Newstalk ZB Drive host and Herald on Sunday columnist Heather du Plessis-Allan moderated tonight's debate.

Analysis after debate

After the studio debate du Plessis-Allan is in the newsroom with New Zealand Herald journalists Simon Wilson and Bernard Orsman.

Both have extensive experience reporting on Auckland issues and will give audiences their perspectives on how the candidates performed.

Similar debates are also planned by the Herald and Newstalk ZB in Christchurch and Wellington in the lead-up to both cities' mayoral elections on October 12.

Goff has prioritised clean transport, the environment and climate change as his main goals for a second term.

Among his promises are for council to buy only electric or hybrid vehicles from next year, speeding up the move from diesel to electric buses and extending the Government's rebate for low-emission vehicles to help pay for electric buses.

Working with Government to achieve lower emissions targets, Goff wants a third of cars to be electric before 2030, raise emission standards on new cars to levels set in Japan in 2014 and improve car occupancy from the average current level of 1.5 to 2 by 2030.

Goff also promised to make a start on electrifying the rail line from Papakura to Pukekohe within two years.

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The sitting mayor, who introduced new rates for water and the environment, an 11.5 cents a litre regional petrol tax and a bed tax in his first term, said he had no plans for any new rates or taxes in his second term.

Tamihere last week proposed to turn the existing Harbour Bridge into a two-level superstructure - with 10 lanes for cars on the lower level and four rail tracks and walkways and cycleways on the upper level.

He said he had not costed the Auckland Harbour Bridge proposal, which is part of the motorway network managed and funded by the NZ Transport Agency.

Tamihere is also promising to put the "on again, off again" Penlink highway linking the Whangaparaoa Peninsula with State Highway 1 on "steroids to get Auckland moving".