Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is doubling down in his criticism of global cosmetics giant Sephora after the company claimed confetti dumped into drains was "safe for the environment".

The French company has come under fire after what Goff called "unacceptable waste" dumping during its much-hyped Queen St store launch on Saturday.

Today Goff was advised by council staff Sephora had not been given permission to discharge waste into stormwater drains and out into the harbour.

The council said the company had said cleaners would be on hand to pick up the confetti.

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But, Sephora said most was disposed of appropriately and water only used on sodden pieces that had started to bio-degrade because of the rain.

Sephora opened with a bang - cannons fired ticker tape into the crowd as almost 1000 people queued outside the Auckland store for its grand opening. Photo / Sylvie Whinray
Sephora opened with a bang - cannons fired ticker tape into the crowd as almost 1000 people queued outside the Auckland store for its grand opening. Photo / Sylvie Whinray

New Zealand Māori Council executive director Matthew Tukaki said he saw Sephora staff sweeping paper confetti into drains, along with taking paper testers, used for fragrances.

Sephora hit back at the claims, with a spokeswoman saying they'd worked with Auckland Council "for its approved event permit to ensure the confetti was safe for the environment".

"The confetti used was bio-degradable, water soluble and plant based," she said.

She referred the Herald to the council for comment.

But Goff has disputed their claims.

On Saturday he tweeted: "Unacceptable for anyone, particularly a major retailer, to be polluting our waterways. Totally untrue that council granted permission for such behaviour – waste must be collected and disposed of responsibly."

Matthew Tukaki says he saw Sephora staff sweeping and dumping paper waste into Queen St drains, which flow to the sea. Photo / Matthew Tukaki
Matthew Tukaki says he saw Sephora staff sweeping and dumping paper waste into Queen St drains, which flow to the sea. Photo / Matthew Tukaki

Today a spokesman said Goff was advised by council staff Sephora had not been given permission to discharge waste into stormwater drains and out into the harbour.

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"The event agreement entered into with Auckland Council for the Queen St launch required waste from the event to be collected and disposed of responsibly.

"Sephora has stated that the confetti used was bio-degradable, water soluble and plant based.

"However, the Mayor and the council do not accept that these attributes make it acceptable to dispose of foreign matter into our waterways.

"He also does not accept that such a disposal method is consistent with the requirements of the event agreement.

"At no point in the agreed waste management plan was there mention, or approval by council, of discharge into drains."

Under "Waste Type - Paper" in the plan, it stated that waste stations would be implemented, and on the event sheet it stated cleaners would be "on hand" to pick up confetti.

The Mayor has asked council staff to investigate further and has also written to Dark Horse outlining his concerns and seeking an explanation from the company.

A council spokeswoman said there was no update into the investigation.

Sephora NZ said they had been working with the council for the past few months to make sure all the right protocols were followed.

"The approved confetti used was bio-degradable, water soluble and plant based and was cleaned up and disposed of appropriately," a spokeswoman said.

"Excess water was only used where the confetti had already started to bio-degrade due to rainfall to further dissolve and clear the footpath avoiding any health and safety risks for the general public."