Phil Goff and his main rival John Tamihere are not ruling out privatisation of marina land for housing if they win next month's mayoral contest
Their positions are at odds with a public meeting this week opposed to any further attempt by council's development arm Panuku to privatise land at Hobsonville Marina for five-storey apartments.
The Auckland Marina Users Association is also opposed to council-owned marina land being sold for waterfront apartments, a view shared by many councillors.
Both Goff and Tamihere have expressed reservations about privatising marina land, but left the door open if they become the next mayor of the Super City.
In a statement, Goff said he was not convinced by Panuku's initial plans for the council's marinas and supported a planning committee decision to develop a marina strategy.
A mayoral spokesman said the strategy is being developed to ensure councillors are fully informed when it comes time to make decisions on how best to manage council-owned marinas.
"The mayor has a responsibility to make decisions in the best interests of Auckland and won't make any decisions before having the evidence to support it," the spokesman said.
Tamihere said he would remove the mandate for the sale of marina land from council's development arm Panuku, which he has criticised for not being transparent over the sale of the Civic Administration Building and lack of return on its property portfolio.
He said that would allow for a proper conversation about whether sales could proceed taking into account the sensitivity and high value placed on marina land, future public use for things like public transport, and landscape values.
Once those hurdles were cleared, there would have to be a business case to make sure any sales stacked up for the ratepayer, Tamihere said.
'City of Sales' claim as Auckland Council hocks off marina land
Councillor John Watson said public meetings over Hobsonville and Gulf Harbour marinas had led to almost unanimous support by local communities and berth holders to keep marina land in public ownership.
The anti-privatisation mood was the same across the city and among the 135,000 boaties in Auckland, he said.
Watson said Panuku and council are playing for time until after the election in the hope of a favourable balance around the council table to proceed with sales.
West Harbour Residents Group spokeswoman June Kearney said this week's meeting attended by 130 people voted unanimously to oppose any further attempts to privatise Hobsonville Marina - previously called Westpark.
The group is planning to write to the Auditor-General and Minister of Local Government to ask for an investigation into the Unitary Plan process for Hobsonville Marina and the failure by council to take into account special legislation that protects the 592-berth marina for public use.
Hobsonville Marina is leased to Hobsonville Marina Ltd, controlled by richlister Simon Herbert, who wants to buy land at the marina to build five-storey apartments.
Herbert's Empire Capital also owns Pine Harbour Marina, near Whitford, and Bayswater Marina Village, near the Auckland Harbour Bridge. The two marinas were built and owned privately.
Last year, Herbert told the Herald he has offered an assurance over spaces on the waterfront, saying his plans for three major Auckland marinas will improve access.