When I sat down to vote for a new mayor last year, I didn't see Grant Dalton's name on the list of candidates seeking backing for a $190 million expansion of Halsey Wharf.

Nor did I see Ports of Auckland chief executive, Tony Gibson making a case for pushing Bledisloe Wharf another 13.5 metres out towards Devonport.

But I do distinctly remember Phil Goff's name was there and that he won by a long stretch, in part by promising there would be no more encroachments into the harbour under his watch.

Just prior to polling day he told the Herald that "not one more metre of the harbour should be infilled for commercial activity"under his watch, and that it would be "a very unwise [port company] board that ignored the clearly expressed view of the business community in Auckland and the wider population of Auckland".


Making it crystal clear, he added that If the council-owned port company persevered with expansion plans "then I would be looking at, over time, changing the nature of the people on the board of the port".

Yet in recent weeks, both the port company and council bureaucrats have been treating the mayor's warnings with distain. At the end of August, city officials revealed a plan to reclaim the seabed in front of the historic Ferry Building 20 metres out into the harbour, leaving the old waterfront icon high and dry.

Then two weeks ago, Ports of Auckland unveiled a 30 - year masterplan which, amongst other things, included a 13m piled extension to Bledisloe Wharf. The port company seems to think because it's not the 250m extension monstrosity originally proposed, and because it is on piles and not reclaimed, that that's OK.

Not to be outdone, on Monday, council employees working for Panuku Development Auckland, the city's regeneration agency, revealed assorted options for an America's Cup village, all of which involve some sort of wharf extensions around the Viaduct Basin area.

Councillors have just a week to choose between options ranging between $137 million and $190 million in cost. If they dither, Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton has warned he can always take the contest off to Italy instead.

With this America's Cup bullying there are two issues. First is the tradition, going back to when the city was founded, that there's nothing wrong with the gradual expansion of the working waterfront out into the harbour.

It reminds me of the attitude Transit New Zealand had when it tried to drive State Highway 20 through the side of Mt Roskill. It's just a little slice, they argued. No one will notice. Luckily the Volcanic Cones Society did, and after a bruising battle, won a famous victory.

In downtown Auckland, Fort Street - originally Fore Street - was originally the foreshore. Since the 1850s we've been steadily filling in the harbour. Last year's election result demonstrated a general consensus among Aucklanders that it was time to stop.

Goff has the mandate. It's time to deliver.

I said there were two issues as far as the America's Cup base is concerned. The other involves wise decision making, especially when public money is involved. The ridiculously short one week deadline the councillors have been given to decide suggests a kick for touch is the only answer.

Ten years ago, Goff's colleague in the Clark Labour Government, Sports Minister Trevor Mallard, gave Auckland local politicians a similarly impossible deadline.

They had just two weeks to say yes to his plan for a $1 billion national stadium to be sited somewhere unknown, on the Auckland waterfront.

Despite Mallard hinting at "national" funding, both the Auckland City and Regional councils turned this undocumented and unresearched offer down. It was one of Auckland local politicians' finest hours.

With the proposed America's Cup base, there's not even any money on offer from the rich yachties or the government. This at a time when the mayor is forced to introduce a special fuel tax to help pay for urgently needed infrastructure.

Even the cheapest of the AmCup base options would pay for 15 new, 3-car electric trains.
Perhaps Sir Russell Coutts could offer the front lawn of his Tindalls Bay mansion.

* An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Ateed was involved in selecting the site for the America's Cup.