Auckland flooding: Mayor Wayne Brown caught in testy exchange over disaster communications

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown has been involved in a testy exchange with media at a standup on Saturday.

Brown faced questioning over the lack of communication, which left many Aucklanders feeling abandoned. However Brown insisted they weren't.

"What we were doing in ensuring they were not actually abandoned. We were ensuring there was thousands of people out there and that was what I was doing... I was making sure that was taking place," he said.

"There's no sense communicating things which are just your view. You have to communicate facts and the facts were coming from these people here and I'm driven by that."

The communications from Auckland Council and its organisations during the deluge yesterday have come in for criticism from the region's councillors, who have asked why it took so long to declare a state of emergency and provide up-to-date information.

"I should only be tweeting official information from Auckland Emergency Management channels. But they haven't updated their social media in over three hours," tweeted Councillor Richard Hills.

"I understand they're inundated and dealing with the immediate crisis. But people need to know where to go tonight."

Asked about this at the standup, Brown said he should be the one providing information, and if everyone wants to compete with him, he would get drowned out.

"Some of the stuff that came from some of those people who wanted to communicate stuff that they didn't know," he said.

"Well that must be because they were listening to... we gave that message out, and perhaps we'll learn we have to give that message out better next time but the other part about it is perhaps we have too many spokespersons for the council."

Earlier, Today FM producer Tom Day tweeted that Brown had refused an interview on Friday morning because "I am playing tennis then anyway".

When Brown, who appeared increasingly irate, was questioned over this he said "you got that wrong mate".

"In the afternoon, once it started to rain, I never left my desk," he said.

"It wasn't a major issue until late afternoon which is certainly when it became different from a wet day. At that stage I never left my desk and I communicated.

"Unlike some of my councillors, I represent the entire district. I'm thinking of all of Auckland and it was very hard to get a clear picture of what was happening across all of Auckland. There's no sense communicating if you haven't got clear stuff to communicate."

Mayor Brown then left the press conference.