A controversial book on the last 20 years of Auckland City Council will cost ratepayers $135,000 after councillors voted to top up funding.

Councillors agreed yesterday to put more money into creating the book, which was originally to cost around $120,000.

The book has been labelled a "vanity project", with at least one group of councillors saying the money would be better used being invested in the community.

City Vision councillors Richard Northey, Cathy Casey, Glenda Fryer and Denise Roche yesterday said the $135,000 book was unbudgeted expenditure.

Dr Casey labelled the book a "vanity publication" and called for the Auckland Transition Agency to pull the plug on what she called a last-minute spend-up.

"This is a complete misuse of ratepayer funds [23] days out from an election," she said.

Mr Northey said: "This [money] goes well beyond the amount of remuneration forgone by councillors and community board members over this council term - and is now eating into the basic living costs of struggling ratepayers across the area covered by the outgoing Auckland City Council."

Mrs Fryer said the use of the money on an "academic treatise" was scandalous, when the council had turned down requests for assistance from worthier causes, including from the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Citizen & Ratepayers councillor Ken Baguley said the idea that the council was putting too much money into the book was a "load of utter rubbish."

"It was money that councillors turned down - they were entitled to it in a pay increase - but they turned it down."

Mr Baguley said that because councillors turned down a pay increase, ideas for projects that would reflect and benefit all councillors were put forward - one being the book.

"I don't know if anyone will read it - I don't care. History books are never bestsellers, but at least when people look back, they'll have this," he said.

"I think different generations have a responsibility to leave what actually happened in their period. In this case it's the book."