Auckland mayor Len Brown has walked out of a council meeting after a fractious exchange about the Ports of Auckland.
Mr Brown departed the meeting after councillor Cathy Casey refused to leave after the mayor said she insulted him.
The stand-off between Mr Brown and Dr Casey prompted one councillor to ask "is there going to be a brawl?"
The bad blood started when another councillor tried, and failed, to include the contentious Ports of Auckland wharf extension as an extraordinary agenda item.
Dr Casey protested, and addressed Mr Brown directly rather than as the chair, saying it was clear the port company did not care about what he thought.
Mr Brown said Dr Casey was making the issue personal.
"I've made this point very clear. We are not going to tolerate nonsense behaviour in this chamber."
After a break, Mr Brown returned and Dr Casey read a statement saying that these were are turbulent times and if the mayor was offended by anything she said, she was sorry.
Councillor John Watson told Checkpoint Mr Brown seemed to take great offence at a comment that he - Mr Watson - considered pretty mild in the circumstances.
Mr Watson said it was the mayor who should have said sorry.