Ports of Auckland chairman Graeme Hawkins has announced the company is proceeding with two massive wharf extensions into the Waitemata Harbour.

The decision to continue work comes despite public protests and a political call by Auckland Council to halt work until a wide-ranging port study is done.

The port company has resource consent for the work and there are no legal barriers to prevent it.

Following a board meeting today Mr Hawkins said there had been a hold up with some gear but work was proceeding on the extensions to Bledisloe Wharf.

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Mr Hawkins said some of the bigger gear should be on site in two-to-three days.

Two Fletcher cranes, pile casing and worker huts have moved onto the site in the past day.

Mr Hawkins said moving the gear onto the site was part of enabling works.

Asked when the company would start the main contract, he said: "We have started. The enabling works is part of it.

"There is no change. We are carrying on, but we have asked management to give us some clarification on a couple of issues."

He said the company would also talk to the council body, Auckland Council Investments Ltd, to get some clarification as well.

The council has written to ACIL, who is turn have passed on the message to the ports to halt works on the wharf extensions until a wide-ranging study of the port is done.

Brian Perry Civil, a subsidiary of Fletcher Building, has a $22 million contract to built the extensions.

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Mr Hawkins said the company had no plans to stop the wharf extensions at this stage, but will be having discussions with ACIL in due course.

"Our obligations under the Companies Act are a different set of obligations they(ACIL) have got and there is quite a debate in terms of how those obligations fall on us."

Mr Hawkins said under every scenario the port company could think of it was going to need the wharf extensions to handle the ships otherwise they will not come to Auckland and Auckland's economic recovery will be choked.

"The dilemma for us as directors is it is quite clear where our obligations are, despite the request from the shareholder," Mr Hawkins said.

Mayor Len Brown was relaxed about Mr Hawkins' statements to the Herald, saying the council's request to halt work on the extensions was "still under consideration".

"Until a decision is made, we understand that some work will continue in line with contracts that the port company has in place with construction companies," said Mr Brown.

Stop Stealing Our Harbour spokesman Michael Goldwater said the decision to proceed with the extensions displayed incredible arrogance and complete disregard to what the port's bosses were telling them.

The lobby group would be meeting tonight to consider its next move, Mr Goldwater said.

The decision to proceed with work has prompted an immediate response on social media.

Transport blog editor Patrick Reynolds tweeted Mr Hawkins "needs to go".

Waitemata and Gulf councillor Mike Lee called it insubordination.

North Shore councillor Chris Darby said: "The Port company is displaying all the old traits of the fiefdom it's been these past 150 years. It appears to be deliberately toying with council and continues to think it is immune to our unequivocal requests."