Auckland Councillor Fa’anana Efeso Collins has officially put his name in the hat to run in the super city’s 2022 Mayoral race.
The Manukau ward and Labour-aligned councillor confirmed he was taking part in October's election on Wednesday.
The candidate told 1News his desire to run had been “percolating for the last couple of years”, and he hoped to create a legacy for his family, and the city, with a big focus on community.
Auckland's current Mayor Phil Goff hadn't yet confirmed if he would seek a third term.
In a statement sent to 1News, a spokesperson for Goff said he would “make a decision on whether to stand in the 2022 mayoral election in the coming weeks”.
Collins said he had an honest conversation with Goff on the matter a few months ago to see what his intentions were.
“He (Goff) said he would make his decision around that time the following year (2022). I knew that was a process in play,” Collins said.
“I thought it was the honourable thing to speak to Phil last year. But, we have made our choice to do it.
“I thought it was going to get hard to talk to people about fundraising over the next month or so. That’s why it was important for me to let people know today.”
The councillor said the decision to run wasn’t made lightly — Collins and his family received a barrage of abuse and death threats last year after he had called on TVNZ to cut Police Ten 7.
He said the death threats had him reflect on his career, how he had wanted to keep it entirely separate from his family life, and how the threats had changed it all.
It started a discussion with his family about what they could do.
“I was pretty broken at the time. I went through such a sad, low stage," said Collins.
"I’ve always believed that political life and family life would be separate. I wore a deep level of guilt for my kids, in particular, for being exposed to that.
“Over that period we decided that we were gonna throw ourselves into it... make a legacy for my girls and for the city.”
Part of Labour for many years, Collins said he was confident he would get the party's endorsement. But, he said he would run regardless.
“I’m going to stand and I think standing with their endorsement for me means the Labour whānau - that I've been with for over a decade - is standing along with me.”
The Sāmoan councillor was critical of the party's endorsement process, and the fact that it hadn't been transparent enough.
He said he has had formal communications about a meeting of a group of "senior council people" who were going to discuss the issue.
"As a party which claims democracy, then let's have democratic processes (and) transparent processes in place where people know how they can engage. Up until now, we haven't had that process."
Another Labour candidate, North Shore councillor Richard Hills, was also tipped to run, though hadn't yet confirmed his plans.
It's been reported by the NZ Herald that Hills would likely be endorsed by Goff as his successor.
Collins said he championed people and community. He had been open about a need for better, cheaper public transport, potentially even free. That, along with urban regeneration, and a focus on amplifying community facilities, would be a big part of his policy platform which he said he planned to launch soon.
He said he couldn't wait to get out on the streets and meet more of the 1.7 million people that made up the super city.
“I’ve made an effort to make sure that I'm not just hanging out in South Auckland. When you understand communities, you get why they like certain things.
"I’d much rather spend time on the street, in community centres and meeting with people than being stuck in an office all day.”