Award-winning journalist Jock Anderson has been fired from the National Business Review for writing an editorial supporting underfire Auckland Mayor Len Brown to retain his job.
Mr Anderson told the Herald that he was in a "state of shock" after NBR publisher Todd Scott told him on Wednesday night that he had lost confidence and his position was untenable.
His sacking as chief reporter came after writing an editorial backing Mr Brown to stay on as mayor despite revelations of a sordid affair, as the city needed him to complete the multi-billion dollar projects he had started.
Mr Scott confirmed the dismissal and said Mr Anderson failed to "comply with specific instructions to treat coverage of the Len Brown affair in an impartial and unbiased manner".
He said Mr Anderson had filed an editorial "purporting to be the NBR's stance on the controversy" which was removed shortly after it was posted on Wednesday morning.
News coverage of the on-going scandal by the NBR would remain "strictly neutral", said Mr Scott, but there was no restriction on regular columnists to analyse events as they unfolded.
Mr Anderson said there was a "difference of opinion" as to whether he had ignored instructions from his employer and he would seek legal advice.
"I don't believe I've committed an offence which should lead to me being summarily dismissed. I'd like all parties to take a deep breath and step back to come to a civilised and business-like resolution."
He confirmed he would like to return to the newsroom.
Mr Anderson is an award-winning journalist, including the Reporter of the Year for an investigation into financial mismanagement within Tainui, with 48 years experience in the industry.
This is the second time Mr Anderson has lost his job at the business paper.
He was made redundant in April 2006, which led to a legal battle, before returning to the NBR in 2009.