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By Jonty Dine, RNZ News reporter

The race for the Auckland mayoralty ends this weekend in the Aotearoa New Zealand local elections and polls indicate that either Pacific contender Fa’anānā Efeso Collins or Wayne Brown will claim the chains.

RNZ News spoke to some prominent Aucklanders about who they believe should get the city’s top job.

Former world heavyweight boxing title contender David Tua said he was firmly in the corner of Efeso Collins.

Tua believed Collins would be a mayor for all, in particular the youth.

“At the end of the day they are our future and I believe he is a man the youth can relate to.”

Tua said Collins had a humanitarian nature.

David Tua
Former world heavyweight boxing title contender David Tua … Efeso Collins has a humanitarian nature. Image: Photosport/RNZ

“What he’s standing for is for the people, all the people. It’s always about the people and I believe that’s what he’s about.”

The ‘man for the job’
Advocate Shaneel Lal believes Collins is the man for the job due to the past support he has shown to the LGBTQI+ community.

Shaneel Lal says the current bill to ban conversion therapy has glaringly obvious loopholes and doesn't go far enough.
Advocate Shaneel Lal … Efeso Collins is calm, collected and open to ideas and change. Image: Pacific Cooperation Foundation/RNZ

Lal said Collins had progressed in his views and proved he had a backbone when he offered help during their campaign to ban conversion therapy.

“We need to give people room for growth, he advocated against same-sex marriage in 2012, the bill passed in 2013, in those 10 years he has come on a long journey of learning, that was 10 years ago and to me he clearly has changed.”

Lal said Collins had the temperament for the job.

“I also think Efeso is calm and collected and open to ideas and change, he has always been respectful to me and spoken with kindness even when he has disagreed with me.”

Former North Shore mayor George Wood is backing Wayne Brown.

George Wood at a Council meeting about the Unitary Plan. 10 August 2016.
Former North Shore mayor George Wood … backs Wayne Brown. Image: Cole Eastham-Farrelly/RNZ

“Wayne has already run a district council I think that will give him good knowledge of what it is like to run a local government organisation.”

Wood said Brown did have some room for improvement, however.

“He does have a tendency to say things off the cuff without realising the significance of what he is saying and it is an area he will have to improve that communication.”

Getting the balance right
Prominent activist Lisa Prager said Brown would get her tick.

“Wayne has the experience in both the corporate environment and also understands small local businesses so he understands what this city needs and how to get that balance right.”

Prager said council needed restructuring which Brown could deliver.

“I think it is excessive in its spending and failing to deliver the essential services that we all need.”

Actor Oscar Kightley said as a fellow Samoan man, Collins was the clear choice.

Oscar Kightly won the Senior Pacific Artist Award at the Creative NZ Arts Pasifika awards
Actor Oscar Kightley … it was time for change with Collins. Image: Daniela Maoate-Cox/RNZ Pacific

“When you are Samoan you experience different aspects of life Aotearoa including prejudice and discrimination and when you’ve fought through that and succeeded it just gives you skills to see the bigger picture.”

Kightley said it was time for change.

“I love how he’s changed his approach from when he first entered council, I think he’s really listened to all the diverse voices out there.”

Making a difference
Well-known celebrant Ronny Franks is voting Brown.

“I think he would make a huge difference, I think there could be good changes, particularly with Auckland Transport and other areas that are sort of lagging behind at the moment.”

Franks believed Brown’s personality would serve him well in office, despite the occasional gaffe.

“He’s a no nonsense man, he probably does rattle a lot of feathers but when you have to get something done you have to get it done and there is a right way of doing it and he does things the right way.”

Monday was the last day to get votes in the post but there are vote boxes at supermarkets, transport hubs and council buildings around Tāmaki Makaurau.

Auckland has a population of 1.7 million.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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