Waiheke Island's recycling service has won a short reprieve while the city council checks whether it can sign a 10-year, $23 million contract under new Super City rules.

Councillors on the Auckland City development committee had been expected to vote yesterday in favour of replacing local recycling on Waiheke with a cheaper service run by mainland waste collector TransPacific Industries.

Instead, they delayed their decision so they could to gather more information, including on whether the Waiheke contract is likely to meet the standards of the Auckland Transition Agency.

The agency's job will be to restructure Auckland councils into a single entity by October next year.

Draft legislation says Auckland councils will not be able to enter contracts worth more than $20,000 lasting beyond June 2011 without the agency's permission.

On Wednesday, Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye called on city councillors to delay the Waiheke decision in light of plans for a new Super City.

"I think it is undesirable for the council to be awarding a contract at this time worth more than $20 million over 10 years," she said in a letter to city councillor Aaron Bhatnagar.

Her comments echoed those of Auckland Regional Council chairman Mike Lee, who last week criticised city councillors for pushing ahead with the vote.

A large delegation from Waiheke attended the meeting and told councillors the city would lose $12 million over the life of the contract if recycling was not sorted on the island.

The new operator would take away mixed glass, metal, paper and plastic - a system that has caused problems for some glass smelters because materials can mix and break up.

Councillors on the majority Citizens and Ratepayers ticket told Islanders that mainland Aucklanders were subsidising a more expensive recycling service for Waiheke through their rates.

Most Waiheke Islanders at the meeting raised their hands when asked if they would pay more to keep their local service.

Mr Bhatnagar said council officers would report back on the Super City issue in about a month.

They would also check that TransPacific Industries and the other companies that tendered for the contract were financially sound.

Councillors will take a closer look at the environmental benefits of the local recycling service - which powers its vehicles using cooking oil from local restaurants - before their next meeting.

Mr Bhatnagar said there was a chance the contract might not go to TransPacific, if, for example, it could not satisfy councillors about its financial capabilities.

In Central Auckland, mingled recycling collection has caused problems for some recyclers because glass can break up, making it less valuable, unless it is sorted early in the process.