The man described as the "mayor" of Martin Place's tent city last night issued a defiant rejection of the supposed "deal" to pack up the homeless camp - just moments after it was announced by Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.
Moore had declared to a media pack on the steps of Town Hall that she had "negotiated an outcome with Lanz Priestley", claiming that he had agreed to pack up the camp of roughly 47 tents when council trucks arrived at the CBD landmark pedestrian mall today to collect material following a guarantee a "safe space" would be provided - although one without beds.
"He's agreed to this because accommodation has been offered to people and they realise that pressure is mounting and the crisis was really developing," she said.
But just a short time later, Priestley told The Daily Telegraph he and the Lord Mayor had conflicting definitions of what that "safe space" should look like and that he was prepared to "spend months if necessary" hashing out a deal.
"I don't think we will accept it without accommodation ... we want people to be able to sleep communally in a building - effectively a big hall with a lot of mattresses in it," he said.
"It'll be open in the sense that there won't be closed off rooms."
He also issued a warning to Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who earlier vowed to step in and use powers available to the state to move on the camp if council didn't resolve the issue, saying: "Don't think that banning me from here or from Sydney is going to stop this ... we will be back with me or without me."
Priestley, a New Zealand-born father of 12 who has become the public face of the tent city homeless crisis, said that if the state issues a "banning order to 30 or 40 people here, this will still come back".
It remains unclear whether Moore will be able to salvage the so-called deal before council trucks arrive today to cart away property, with Priestley adamant there were issues with the agreement earlier spruiked by the Lord Mayor.
"Clover at her press conference indicated there wouldn't be any sleeping space there," he said.
"My definition is what we have here, which clearly has a sleeping aspect - I think we are entitled to ownership of that definition."
While Moore spoke of an agreement to have the camp packed up, Priestley said the tent city was simply "going to let the council take away some of our surplus stuff".
"If they come back to us with a building people can move to, (that) they can sleep in and have a 24/7 safe space, then we will take the tents down," he said.
Moore last week said she would only use council's power to confiscate property if a list of demands was met by the state government, which included the reopening of the Sirius building for homeless people.
She then declared that more discussion was needed when the state fell short of meeting those demands.
But when an optimistic Lord Mayor was yesterday asked when the tent city would move, she said: "As soon as our first truck arrives there ... so I think that will be tomorrow morning."
Priestley has just had his 12th child. The most recent is with 20-year-old Nina Wilson, who is from Nowra.
A self-taught project manager originally from Wellington in New Zealand, he told The Daily Telegraph he is a permanent resident who refuses to collect taxpayer-funded benefits.
"I think it might be a little hypocritical to criticise what government does and stick my hand out," he said.
He first set up camp in the financial heart of Sydney in 1991.
Priestley sold his own home in the eastern suburbs 20 years ago so he could give his own children, the eldest 47 years old, deposits to buy houses.