Manukau Mayor Len Brown says the Government should forget its $100 million plan for Queens Wharf and go back to the basic "party central" upgrade for the Rugby World Cup.

Mr Brown yesterday broke ranks from a consensus being built by the head of the agency designing the Super City, Mark Ford, and his top legal adviser, Rob Fisher, to win support for the controversial project.

Mr Brown said that while he had told the pair he liked the expensive design he did not believe an economic case could be mounted for a cruise ship terminal and public support gained in time to build it for next year's cup.

"On that basis you would go back to the fallback position of let's do it in a more measured way and do a temporary upgrade through the $18 million proposed at the collapse of the design contest," he said.

Mr Brown, Auckland City Mayor John Banks and Papakura Mayor Calum Penrose yesterday said that when Mr Ford tried to sell them the "preferred" $100 million design, he never showed them three other other options for Queens Wharf.

North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams said he had only glanced at the "non-preferred" options, saying the preferred design was "stunning".

Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey believes it is right to proceed with the "terrific" fine-tuned version of last year's contest-winning design by architects Jasmax and Architectus.

A spokesman for Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully said the other options were expected to be made public online today.

Heart of the City business group starts a series of advertisements today calling on Aucklanders to have a say on Queens Wharf.

Chief executive Alex Swney said:

"To avoid a blunder we need to separate the needs of party central for the cup and the development of cruise ship facilities for Auckland."

The Auckland Architecture Association has backed Mr Swney by saying the right way forward is to produce a masterplan for the entire waterfront.

Arts consultant Hamish Keith said Mr McCully was proposing a pile of slab-and-slice kneejerk architecture with all the urban design values of a rural boat ramp.

Mr McCully has not said how the Government plans to pay for its $100 million project, but local leaders expect the cost to be borne by ratepayers.

It is also unclear how the Government expects to gain resource consent and whether it will fast-track the project, 18 months out from the cup tournament.