'Mayor Mo' says no
Pakuranga MP Maurice Williamson today announced he will not stand for the Auckland mayoralty this year.
The building and construction minister, who has represented the electorate for 26 years, has not ruled out standing for the city's mayor in future.
“Following approaches from many groups and individuals I agreed to consider standing. But after much thought and in-depth analysis, including looking at personal, political, funding and other circumstances, I have decided not to contest the mayoralty," he says.
"I want to thank the huge number of people who gave me their support and I am sorry if they’re disappointed by my decision.
"I remain focused on serving my Pakuranga constituents and fulfilling my ministerial responsibilities."
The announcement is good news for Auckland mayor Len Brown, who was considered a shoo-in to return to office in October until Mr Williamson considered standing.
American-born restauranteur John Palino is the only confirmed right-wing candidate for the Auckland mayoralty at this year's election.