Auckland mayor John Banks says the Government is trying to force the city to spend more than $100 million on the redevelopment of Queens Wharf.
The original estimate for making the wharf able to accommodate cruise ships and become a public party hub for the 2011 Rugby World Cup was put at $47 million.
Mr Banks says it is intolerable for the Government to decide what it wants and then make ratepayers pick up the bill.
"We don't need a cheap-jack ferry terminal for the Rugby World Cup which would be a lasting memory of everything bad about so-called modern architecture," he told Summer Report.
Auckland Regional Council chairman Mike Lee says his council and the Government are determined to proceed with a cruise ship terminal on the site.
"We just want an excellent cruise ship terminal, (its) as simple as that," he says. "Doing nothing at all might be an easy way out, but it is not an option."
Mr Lee is confident he can work with Mr Banks and the Government to find an acceptable redevelopment plan for Queens Wharf
The Government and the regional council co-own the site.
Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully says all options will be considered for the redevelopment of Auckland's waterfront - not just the ones Mr Banks likes.
Mr McCully says it is the first time he has heard of a $100 million price tag on any option.