The race for the Whangarei mayoralty has pulled one of the biggest crowds ever to an election meeting in the city.
Incumbent Morris Cutforth is bowing out after one term because of ill health. A record 12 candidates are after his job.
The candidates include sitting and former councillors, a former mayor and several local government novices.
More than 600 people packed the Whangarei exhibition hall on Tuesday night to hear them speak.
Afterwards, some in the audience said there was no single outstanding candidate and they felt more confused than ever by the extensive choice.
Some expressed concern the vote would be fragmented, delivering a mayor with an unconvincing majority.