16 Sep 2022

Auckland mayoralty: Viv Beck pulls out from race

1:31 pm on 16 September 2022
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Auckland mayoral candidate Viv Beck has withdrawn from the contest. File photo Photo: Supplied / HOTC

Auckland mayoral candidate Viv Beck is quitting the race in a bid to avoid splitting the centre-right vote with Wayne Brown.

"My decision comes with a heavy heart but given the strength of concern about issues that need addressing across our region, it is important to avoid splitting the centre-right vote," she said.

However, the announcement comes on the day voting opens, so her name will still appear on the ballot.

Auckland electoral officer Dale Ofsoske confirmed it's too late for Beck to officially pull out, so votes for her will be counted - and should she win, she would then have the option of resigning.

He said, "She is still a candidate even though she has "withdrawn", she can't legally do so. So her name still appears and yes, she could still be elected Mayor if she gets sufficient votes."

Ofsoske said if a candidate has indicated they do not wish to run, then people should not vote for them.

Last month, former Auckland mayor and National MP John Banks said Beck should throw in the towel to give rival and former Far North mayor Wayne Brown a better go.

Beck, who is the chief executive of Heart of the City, was standing as an independent candidate.

Her campaign took a recent hit following news of an unpaid $353,000 bill from an advertising company.

In a statement today, Beck said she was concerned about "gross inaccuracies" said about her and her campaign, and would be "reflecting on the impact this type of behaviour has on democracy".

"Overall, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to speak with so many people over the last few months and to hear their views on what needs to be done if we are to realise our region's full potential.

"I'd like to see our region thrive, with a shared vision for a vibrant, inclusive and sustainable future and I look forward to playing my part in making this a reality."

Beck's withdrawal comes just a month after Leo Molloy also pulled out of the campaign.

An August poll by the Auckland Ratepayers Alliance placed Beck in fifth spot with 13 percent of the vote behind, Efeso Collins, Leo Molloy, Wayne Brown and "other".

Auckland mayoral candidates Wayne Brown, Viv Beck and Efeso Collins.

Wayne Brown, Viv Beck and Efeso Collins. Photo: RNZ / Katie Fitzgerald

Candidate Wayne Brown said that left a two-horse race for the mayoralty between him and Efeso Collins.

"So now you have a choice between a person who wants to be careful with the spend and someone who wants to spend a lot."

Brown acknowledged the friendly and constructive way Beck had conducted her campaign though the revelations of her debt was "not a good look".

Efeso Collins said Beck was a worthy opponent.

"I want to thank Viv Beck for conducting her campaign with such grace and her willingness to engage with all sides and I wish her all the best for her next endeavours."

Voting papers are already being sent out, so Beck's name will still appear on the ballot.

Vote boxes will be available at Auckland Countdown supermarket, select Auckland Transport hubs, libraries, council service centres and some night markets up until midday Saturday 8 October,

There will also be boxes popping up at popular sites across Auckland.

Beck was on Morning Report two days ago pitching her style of leadership to voters, particularly her "open mind".

Watch the Morning Report debate here:

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