Auckland Council has formally asked the Ports of Auckland to take a breather over extensions on Bledisloe Wharf it planned to start this month.
The council has unanimously voted to start a scoping study into the port's development, which could delay construction.
Mayor Len Brown had recommended the study start immediately, rather than waiting until the council's Unitary Plan was finished in 2016.
The plan for two extensions into the Waitemata Harbour had sparked controversy with protesters saying resource consents for the project were granted unlawfully.
Mr Brown said the study would be a way of looking at the social, economic, environmental and cultural impacts of the port, and getting input from the public.
He said he had sent a letter, through the council's investment agency, which oversees Ports of Auckland, to pause the extensions while the study was being done.
Mr Brown said Ports of Auckland had marched to the beat of its own drum for 170 years, and getting the public's input was a better way forward.
A spokesperson from Ports of Auckland said it had not seen the letter yet.
The spokesperson said it was still with Auckland Council Investments Limited, the organisation that oversees Ports of Auckland.
He said the organisation would consider the letter at its next board meeting.
A spokesperson from Stop Stealing Our Harbour, a group opposed to the expansion, said the council's request to delay construction was a positive move.
Michael Goldwater said it was what they had asked for all along and that it was time Ports of Auckland started listening to the people of Auckland, and its political masters.