John Tamihere boasted back in August when the numbers come in for the Auckland mayoralty "it won't be close". He was right, he was miles behind former Labour colleague Phil Goff at the finish line.

Goff's positive message for the city scooped up 155,957 votes, more than twice the 70,822 votes for Tamihere. What's more, Goff got nearly 48 per cent of the vote, about the same figure in 2016 when he thrashed Vic Crone.

Craig Lord rounded up the top three among the 21 contenders with 25,430 votes.

Phil Goff and wife Mary at the Kingslander. New Zealand Herald Photograph by Sylvie Whinray
Phil Goff and wife Mary at the Kingslander. New Zealand Herald Photograph by Sylvie Whinray

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Auckland deputy mayor Bill Cashmore said the result was an emphatic win for Goff and a vote for positivity and Auckland to move forward.

Goff has also seen off a serious challenge from the "B Team" - made up of councillors who were trying to defeat "Team Goff" - although the informal grouping of his opponents had a net gain of one seat.

In Waitemata, Pippa Coom narrowly beat Mike Lee, who has been a thorn in Goff's side for the past three years. On the flip side, the B Team has been boosted by wins for Angela Dalton in Manurewa-Papakura and Tracy Mulholland in Whau.

Dalton replaced Sir John Walker, who retired for health reasons, Labour's Shane Henderson got elected in Waitakere to replace outgoing councillor Penny Hulse, and Mulholland defeated Labour's Ross Clow, a close ally of Goff's and chairman of the finance committee.

The net effect of these changes is a finely balanced council, with Goff having between nine and 11 votes to call upon and the B Team holding 10 votes.

Mark Thomas, the candidate who moved out of his $4.7 million home in Remuera into his office in Dominion Rd to convince voters he lived in the Albert-Eden-Puketapapa ward, failed to get elected onto council.

John Tamihere at the Croatian Club in Te Atatu. Photo / Isaac Davison
John Tamihere at the Croatian Club in Te Atatu. Photo / Isaac Davison

In 2016, Thomas stood for mayor and finished fifth behind John Palino.

This year's preliminary voter turnout is a dismal 30.44 per cent - the lowest turnout since the Super City was formed in 2010. The previous low was 35.5 per cent in 2013.


It was a drop on Goff's votes in the 2016 elections, 187,622. Crone was second in the last election, scoring more than Tamihere at 111,731 while third off the rank, Chloe Swarbrick - now a Green MP - score more than Lord with 29,098.

Phil Goff at the Kingslander today. Photo / Annabel Reid
Phil Goff at the Kingslander today. Photo / Annabel Reid

An elated Goff told supporters at the Kingslander pub in Kingsland he got strong support from across Auckland.

"It's a celebration for me and I think the beginning to build on what we have already achieved and build a city that we can be proud of for our children and grandchildren," Goff said.

He took a swipe at Tamihere, saying the campaign had been rougher and more personal than 2016. At one debate Tamihere uttered the Nazi salute "sieg heil" towards Goff.

Goff - who entered politics in 1981 as a Labour MP but has stood as an independent candidate in local politics - did face a stern test from Tamihere, a former Labour colleague and chief executive of the Waipareira Trust.

Tamihere shook up the mayoral contest with an energetic campaign and a raft of policies, but his unpredictable side also came to the fore.

The mayor gave little away about how he will go about repairing the sour culture at council. He repeated the line of a willingness to work with all councillors, which he trots out whenever tensions boil over.

Goff, however, is clear about his priorities for a second term - building infrastructure, tackling climate change and a review of council-controlled organisations.

Goff and fellow mayoral candidate John Tamihere. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Goff and fellow mayoral candidate John Tamihere. Photo / Jason Oxenham

The review and reform of CCOs in conjunction with the Government will be one of his biggest challenges in a second term. Aucklanders loathe the CCO model, and Auckland Transport in particular.

Cashmore said council needed to have a good, hard look at the CCO model, what was good about it and what needs changing.

He said the CCO story had to be told better, saying Auckland Transport has had a fair kicking, many times unfairly, and they need to bring their candle out from under the bushel.

It was too early to say if there might need to be some merging or abolishing of some CCOs, but there might have to be some early changes at board level, said Cashmore.

Goff said family would remain a focus for the next few weeks.

"I've got a daughter-in-law who's expecting in a couple of weeks, so I'll catch up with her. And course I've got another grandchild, and it's quite a pleasure having the chance to spend some time with her.

"I said to be my kids I'm sorry I didn't have much time, maybe when I'm a granddad I'll have more time. They said 'not when you're in this job, Dad'."

Auckland Council
Phil Goff

Albany ward
Wayne Walker
John Watson

Albert-Eden-Puketapapa ward
Cathy Casey
Christine Fletcher

Howick ward
Sharon Stewart
Paul Young

Manukau ward
Efeso Collins
Alf Filipaina

Manurewa-Papakura ward
Angela Dalton
Daniel Newman

Maungakiekie-Tamaki ward
Josephine Bartley

North Shore ward
Chris Darby
Richard Hills

Orakei ward
Desley Simpson

Waitakere ward
Linda Cooper
Shane Henderson

Waitemata and Gulf ward
Pippa Coom

Whau ward
Tracy Mulholland