Controversial trench digging and road works on Quay St starting next week have been approved on a non-notified basis, meaning opponents get no say.
David Hill, a duty commissioner, ruled in favour of Auckland Transport's application for works and said although people "would experience a degree of inconvenience during the works", that alone was not enough to warrant notification.
There were no special circumstances that warrant the application to be notified because there was nothing exceptional or unusual about it, Hill said.
"Digging trenches and laying utilities is a routine activity that for better or worse is a common inconvenience in metropolitan areas. Accordingly the application shall proceed on a non-notified basis," Hill said in his decision.
He also granted consent for the works, subject to conditions.
The development has been described as a "nightmare" for businesses located in the area.
Princes Wharf Shed 23 residents committee chairman David Ramsay said businesses and residents were particularly concerned that from December 27 to January 6, Quay St would be "effectively closed off" between Britomart and the bottom of Hobson St.
Access would only be given to service and delivery vehicles and people who lived or worked in the area would have to prove that, Ramsay said.
In the longer term, traffic would be throttled back to one traffic lane in each east-west direction and one bus lane, Ramsay said, which would create significant congestion and difficulties for businesses and residents.
Auckland Transport has defended its waterfront Quay St changes, saying next week's works should have been no surprise because the scheme has been talked about for six years.
Eric van Essen, AT's downtown delivery manager, said he wanted to work with people in the area but the council-controlled entity had already been in extensive discussions with businesses, locals and affected parties and had even changed its plans based on their feedback.
"We met with Princes Wharf businesses and residents last week to talk about the specifics of the traffic plan which has been amended based on their feedback," van Essen said.
He was responding to criticism and talk of legal action from Ramsay and Princes Wharf-based businessman financier Martyn Reesby.