Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel wants to delay a planned change under which nine pre-schools could miss out on thousands of dollars in council grants.
Funding has been ring-fenced for the preschools for years without any competitive application process, because they are all in council-owned properties.
The council wants to open up the $300,000 the preschools collectively receive each year to other pre-schools based on their need.
But this Thursday the full council will vote on a resolution from Ms Dalziel to delay doing this, while the overall policy is looked at once more.
Most of the affected centres are in struggling neighbourhoods and all are run by their communities on a not-for-profit basis.
Many stand to lose $30,000 a year if they fail to win funding under the new procedure.