The Auckland Council is trying to navigate its way to a compromise with its port company over the controversial extensions to Bledisloe Wharf.
Whether a majority of councillors will back an end to the standoff will be tested tomorrow when a possible solution will be debated at an open council meeting.
Ports of Auckland is continuing to build the 92 and 98-metre extensions out into the Waitemata Harbour, despite its owner asking it to stop, pending a study of the port's future.
The port company and council management are understood to have been negotiating alternatives to building both of the extensions, known as B2 and B3, as part of a mix of options.
Publicly, and in ongoing High Court action with opponents of the extensions, the port company has argued that the work cannot be stopped because of construction contracts already let.
Councillors are caught between the need to not unreasonably limit Ports of Auckland's ability to run a business and pressure from vocal opponents, some of whom plan a second protest rally on Sunday.
The council, its investment agency ACIL which manages the port relationship and Ports of Auckland have been locked in negotiations for four weeks since councillors demanded the work stop.
Ports of Auckland said it needed the extensions to accommodate longer cargo and cruise ships, which may otherwise be lost to rival ports.
An interview with port chairman Graeme Hawkinson on Radio New Zealand last Friday led to a two hour closed-door briefing being called, which was held yesterday.
Mr Hawkins had indicated the company intended to continue with construction and that the directors had seven or eight legal opinions supporting their position.
Mayor Len Brown expressed his disappointment at the issue being played out in the media.
A survey commissioned by the port company to gauge public opinion has subsequently not been released.
Regardless of the council's ability tomorrow to find some common ground with Ports of Auckland, legal action to try to halt the $22 million project continues.
North Shore resident Carol Banks is asking the Court of Appeal to overturn a High Court decision to not grant an interim injunction immediately halting work.
In yesterday's ruling, Justice Venning decided Ports of Auckland was given insufficient time to present evidence and that the substantive hearing should run alongside another legal challenge being held in early June.
In that challenge the lobby group Urban Auckland will argue that the resource consents issued for the extensions, are invalid.