Nearly half a dozen of Auckland powerbroker Mark Ford's colleagues at the Watercare utility have come in on his coat-tails to run some of the new Supercity's services.

After leading the Auckland Transition Agency for the past three years, Ford was confirmed this week to be returning to his $630,000 job as chief executive of Watercare Services, a position he stepped down from 18 months ago.

Ford, 60, will also receive $105,000 a year as chairman of the Auckland Transport council-controlled organisation (CCO), one of seven unelected boards that will run about 75 per cent of Supercity services and spend billions of dollars of ratepayers' money every year. He has said, however, he will give that money to Watercare.

Now it has emerged that several people with links to Ford, mainly through Watercare, have ended up on other CCO boards.

Minister of Local Government Rodney Hide picked 31 directors and chairmen for the new CCOs out of 200 nominations received by the transition agency. Ford had no official role in choosing the boards but he has refused to answer questions about how much he knew about who was nominated and whether he gave advice, unofficial or otherwise, to Hide.

Of the appointments made by Hide, the following have links to Watercare:

Ian Parton, interim chief executive of Watercare, appointed to the board of Auckland Transport.

Peter Drummond, director and former chairman of Watercare, appointed deputy chairman of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development.

Terry Kayes, former Watercare director, was appointed to the Auckland Waterfront Development Agency.

Graeme Hawkins, who chairs Watercare, has been appointed a director of Ports of Auckland which will become a CCO. Ford is a former board member of Ports of Auckland.

Meanwhile, at another CCO, Auckland Council Investments, Gary Swift, chief financial officer at Watercare, has been appointed chief executive.

The appointments worry Labour Party Auckland spokesman Phil Twyford who said Ford had a "great deal of power" in setting up the Supercity.

"The real danger for Auckland is for cronyism to develop and conflicts of interest to arise," he said.

"I'm not impuning the integrity of the people on the boards but the danger is we could end up with a relatively small pool of people with interlocking commercial interests in Auckland governing and running the council. A small, hand-picked group of people managing the affairs of the city behind closed doors is bad for democracy."

Institute of Directors in New Zealand chief executive Nicki Crauford said the appointments included a number of "co-incidences". "What process did they use? If they all come from similar backgrounds there may be an issue," she said.

Hide refused to comment but his spokeswoman said Sheffield Consultants developed a shortlist for CCO members and Ford had no part in the decision-making.

"Candidates who were members of the Auckland Transition Agency did not participate in the short-listing process," she said.

A cabinet paper on the appointments said where conflicts had been identified mitigation strategies were put in place but no significant action had been required.