Former Tauranga City councillor John Robson will be making good on his 2013 election promise to give back a percentage of his council salary if he failed to be re-elected.

Based on today's progress results Mr Robson was 3896 votes shy of the 10,752 the lowest polling candidate to be elected to the At Large ward, Rick Curach, received.

If not re-elected he promised to pay a percentage of its funds to the city, depending on his share of the vote.

"There's over $150,000 in there [an off-limits trust account]. At the moment it looks like I'll get to keep about 60 per cent of it. We're looking at giving back in the order of $55-$60,000," he told the Bay of Plenty Times this afternoon.

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Mr Robson said he had spoken to new mayor Greg Brownless to congratulate him on the win and told him he would like to give the money back in the form of electric cars to be used as part of the council fleet.

"He seemed comfortable with that," Mr Robson said.

Mr Robson was elected to the council in 2013 and this year ran for mayor and an At Large seat.

He was eighth in the mayoral races with 1359 votes and eighth in the At Large ward with 6856 votes.

"I got spanked," he said.

Mr Robson said he was not surprised by the result and said he "respected" the decision voters made.

"I wanted a mandate for change. If you don't have a mandate you can't argue for change and I didn't get it," he said.

"I didn't make the difference I wanted to make so I went harder and people said, 'we don't like what you're saying'.

"At the end of the day everyone offers up a menu. My menu certainly wasn't bland and may have been a bit too challenging for the palate of the voter."

Despite that, Mr Robson said he would rather make known what he wanted to do and not get elected than play political games.

Mr Robson said it had been a "privilege" being on the council for the last term.

"I was lucky to be a councillor. It's been an interesting three years. I've enjoyed it in many ways. I've met some really interesting people."

As for the future, the retired management consultant said he would go back to "living well".

Mr Robson said he had a house to finish and would be able to help out with the care of his disabled son more.

"I've given up a job and I've got back time," he said.