Senior Labour politician Phil Goff says he is giving deep and serious consideration to running for the Auckland mayoralty.
The veteran MP for Mt Roskill, who has served for 15 of his 31 years in Parliament as a cabinet minister in portfolios including foreign affairs, defence and housing, said today he had received approaches "from right across the community" to lead the SuperCity but had yet to make up his mind.
"Obviously for all of my political career to date, it's been based in central government, but I do acknowledge the importance of the Auckand City mayoralty and its governance, and it's not something I should simply shrug off," he told the Herald.
"It's something that I need to give some pretty deep thought to."
Mr Goff was speaking after the newspaper's disclosure this morning that Auckland's incumbent mayor, Len Brown, had lost the backing of key members of his campaign team.
The 61-year-old MP refused to be drawn on whether that development was accelerating his interest, saying what Mr Brown did next was "entirely up to Len".
"I've got no advice that it would be proper to give," he said.
"I've worked with Len over the time he's been mayor and he's had significant achievements and he's going to have to make up his mind about what he does, and he'll do that without gratuitous advice from anybody else."
"He's obviously had a rough six months or so and he'll have a whole lot of things he'll want to take into account.
"He's passionate about what he does and at the same time he also understands politics, so he's entirely able to make up his own mind and reach his own conclusion."
Mr Goff would not comment on whether he believed the mayor was hamstrung while he and his councils had been "blindsided" by officials, as implied by potential right-leaning mayoral candidate Michael Barnett, chief of Auckland's Chamber of Commerce.
But he said Auckland needed strong leadership while facing a raft of pressing issues, transport and housing being foremost among them.
Although the MP indicated he had several options ahead of him, including offers from the private sector as well as staying in Parliament, he acknowledged he would "obviously" have to make up his mind on the mayorality before the end of this year.
"With the election next year, and I've been given responsibility [by Labour leader Andrew Little] for Auckland issues, I'm spending quite a long time thinking about Auckland issues," he said.
"And there are a lot of discussions I want to have and a lot of thinking through of the sort of difference that I might or might not be able to make if I was in that position."
"Six months ago I would not have thought at all about even entertaining the idea [of contesting the mayoralty] but I have had quite broad-based support for running and have just given an undertaking to those people who have approached me from right across the community that I would consider it seriously, and that's what I'm doing."