A local politician has been accused of pressuring cafe owners and businesses to remove posters which were critical of his board's plans for Chamberlain Park.
Albert-Eden Local Board chairman Peter Haynes, however, says he was simply alerting people to the political content of the posters that had been placed on their windows.
Save Chamberlain Park chairman Geoff Senescall, who filmed Haynes speaking to staff at one cafe, said the board chairman was intimidating people into removing them.
The squabble underlines the emotion over the future of Chamberlain Park Golf Course, which has become a local election issue. It comes ahead of a potentially stormy public meeting today in which New Zealand Golf will outline why it opposes plans to reduce the course from 18 to nine holes - after initially supporting the redevelopment.
In the video taken by Senescall yesterday, Haynes is confronted while speaking to staff at the Page Corner Cafe in Kingsland. In the background, a staff member can be seen removing the poster.
The poster was painted by Auckland artist Stanley Palmer, who opposes the redevelopment of the golf course. It said the course was "created by pick and shovel" in a Depression-era work relief scheme and warned that it was "perhaps to be destroyed by bulldozers and chainsaws".
Haynes, who is standing for re-election, said he had spoken to several businesses about the poster, but he did not demand that they remove it.
"I was concerned that the businesses displaying the posters should be aware that the poster was part of a political campaign," he said.
"And the few that I spoke to weren't. They were mostly new migrants and seemed to have no idea what the poster was about.
"If anybody got the impression that I was in any way implying that such posters are against the [electoral] rules then I sincerely regret that."
Senescall said he had explained to the business owners what the poster was about. Removing them was anti-democratic, he said.
"Why should he be walking the streets pulling out our stuff down? I'm not pulling his hoardings down."
Haynes, a City Vision member, was upset at what he felt was a well-financed lobbying group running a sophisticated campaign.
In response, Senescall said Palmer painted the poster for the campaign "off his own bat". He said the group had spent $100,000 on legal fees fighting the board, but most of it came from small donations.
A fundraiser on the Givealittle page, where Save Chamberlain Park raised some of its money, had collected $44,420 through 210 donors. A judicial review led by the group halted scheduled redevelopment works at the course earlier this year.
A detailed business case is being done on the $30 million redevelopment, which aims to open up the space to a broader, growing community by building two much-needed artificial fields, a park with walking and cycling facilities, and restoring Meola/Watītikō Creek.