All-out warfare has broken out over Auckland's long-promised waterfront redevelopment and Mayor Dick Hubbard has threatened to walk away from the project.
But Auckland Regional Council chairman Mike Lee said Mr Hubbard should "get over his disappointment about the stadium affair" and stop directing a "tirade of abuse against the ARC".
Just a week after the two councils lined up on opposite sides over a waterfront stadium, relations seem to have deteriorated to the point where the Tank Farm project on Wynyard Wharf, high on the wishlist of Aucklanders because it would finally open up the city's western harbourside, could yet again be delayed when it's already six months behind schedule.
Mr Hubbard said the price Ports of Auckland was asking for assets Auckland City wanted to buy and develop, such as $29 million for Halsey St wharf on the western side of the Viaduct where it wanted to build an events centre, was too high.
It compared unfavourably with the $54 million paid for Westhaven Marina in 2004, the largest marina in the Southern Hemisphere, which also generated significant revenue.
"If we get nowhere with [Halsey St wharf] we might have to walk away," Mr Hubbard said.
"We can issue a tight plan change and [the ARC] are on their own and they can fund the infrastructure themselves.
"As Mayor of Auckland, I can't and won't allow unjustified transfer of wealth to the ARC."
The ARC controls 20ha of the 35ha Tank Farm area, including the prime 8ha of headland, through 100 per cent ownership of Ports of Auckland through its investment arm, Auckland Regional Holdings.
Mr Hubbard said Auckland City ratepayers were being asked to contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to a project where its role was being reduced to that of regulator only, through its responsibility for rezoning land at Wynyard Wharf for the various developments.
Instead, it wanted a power of veto.
"We do want some say over the nature, type and shape of development down there, hence the need for a veto," the mayor said.
The council was not withholding public notification of a plan change for the area in order to force the ARC to modify its terms.
"I would argue it's the ARC that's holding a gun to our heads, not the other way around," he said.
Mr Lee said he was reluctant to comment but said the Tank Farm redevelopment was subject to a "quasi-judicial" plan-change process and he would not be negotiating through the media.
"I am just amazed by [Mr Hubbard's] comments. He needs to have a holiday or something," Mr Lee said.