Auckland Mayor Len Brown has stepped up a war of words with Ports of Auckland, accusing port bosses of keeping the council in the dark about two huge wharf extensions.

Speaking on Television New Zealand's Q+A programme yesterday, Mr Brown said the port company had acted outside its statement of intent by not holding discussions with the council about planned spending on the port's footprint.

Mr Brown, who has previously argued the council was powerless to stop the wharf extensions and direct the port company how to run its business, gave the strongest hint yet that he now opposes port expansion.

"I'm with most Aucklanders. I know that there's absolutely a limit that we have to draw around the port in terms of how far the port can go into the harbour," he said yesterday.


Port chief executive Tony Gibson, who appeared on the same programme, said Mr Brown's claims about not holding discussions were not true.

He said the wharf extensions were a "non-notifiable issue" and the real issue was around reclamation.

The port company has said it plans to reclaim 3ha of seabed between the wharf extensions over time.

Mr Gibson said that was a discussion the company would have with the public after new rules for reclamation were included in the Unitary Plan, or new planning rulebook for the Super City, at the end of next year. Mr Gibson also rejected criticism from councillors last week that the company was arrogant.

"I don't think we're arrogant as a company. That's not part of our values. I think we've really engaged with the public," he said.

The port company continued a publicity campaign at the weekend with full-page advertisements in the Weekend Herald and Sunday newspapers to give ratepayers "the facts".