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Auckland mayoralty: John Tamihere and Phil Goff in heated debate on rates, traffic and Ihumātao

Auckland mayoral hopefuls John Tamihere and incumbent Phil Goff have moved the race for the city's top job up a gear in a heated debate covering climate change, housing, Ihumātao and rates. 

The leading contenders appeared on TVNZ1's Q+A last night to discuss their plan for Auckland's future. 

Mr Tamihere said he had gone to the Human Rights Commission because Mr Goff had capped social housing, but Mr Goff dismissed that as "nonsense" and said everything his rival claimed was "untrue".

On rates, Mr Goff said: "They'll be 3.5 per cent and that's what we'll stick to."

Meanwhile, Mr Tamihere said light rail to the airport would not happen "on my watch".

"It's a slow rail to hell, it'll cause the largest disruption possible."

He said he supported the current council in backing a climate change emergency and said the council had multiple responsibilities when it came to the issue. 

"You've got to have a total environmental policy."

When asked if his policy if a creating an 18-lane Auckland Harbour Bridge was consistent with an environmental policy, Mr Tamihere said it would be 10 traffic lanes, with the rest being rail, walkways and cycle lanes. 

On Auckland Council's responsibility of the Ihumātao land dispute, Mr Goff said the people of Ihumātao asked him to facilitate the parties coming together, and council move the same resolution.

"We now have the Māori King movement involved, and they are the people who have the respect of both the protestors and the mana whenua and they are best placed to work to a solution."

Q+A is on TVNZ1 on Mondays at 9.30pm, and the episode is then available on TVNZ OnDemand and as a podcast in all the usual places.

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Jack Tame hosts a debate with the two leading Auckland mayoral candidates. Source: Q+A