A Tauranga councillor texted a colleague about another councillor's "low cut tops" "really tight white pants" and "frilly party tops" - then asked if cellphones could be checked in official information requests.

First-term councillor Dawn Kiddie also wrote mockingly of deputy mayor Tina Salisbury sharing a ride on mayor Tenby Powell's "Harley" and walking around town with "a plum in my mouth" in the text released under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act.

Salisbury, also in her first term, has likened the text to "high school". Kiddie went one further, saying she never should have sent the "kindergarten stuff".

The text was among hundreds of texts released by the Tauranga City Council in response to requests by the Bay of Plenty Times and others for communications during a tumultuous time inside the council in May and June.

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The release also made public mayor Tenby Powell's texts disparaging councillor Kelvin Clout and have seen questions raised about Andrew Hollis' texts - or lack thereof.

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Six councillors - including Kiddie and the recipient of her text, councillor Steve Morris - attempted to force Larry Baldock out of the deputy mayor role, and have him replaced via group vote.

Baldock instead resigned and Powell appointed Salisbury to the deputy position in a June 2 meeting, to the apparent surprise of the six.

Kiddie sent Morris the text in a conversation on June 1, according to records of his messages.

Morris asked Kiddie: "Would you consider standing for DM?"

Kiddie replied: "Of course Tina would be super pleased and in fact would be my new bestie! I could think of nothing more rewarding also than Sharing a ride on a Harley with Tenby but I need to upgrade my wardrobe and get some low cut tops, really tight white pants and off shoulder frilly party tops!

"Omg this is super awesome as ... will be my new friends and I can walk around town with my nose in the air and a plum in my mouth! Going shopping now!

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A screenshot of Cr Dawn Kiddie's response to Cr Steve Morris asking if she would stand for deputy mayor.
A screenshot of Cr Dawn Kiddie's response to Cr Steve Morris asking if she would stand for deputy mayor.

"Even better I am clearly the best most experienced councillor for the position as I know so much after 7 months and it would really raise the confidence of the community if I was given a higher position than Morris or Robson or Grainger snd even better payed more![sic]

"That would mean I would be so special and so deserving of the title! I ringing media now and booking in with a photo shoot."[sic]

She continued: "Added bonus would be all that close contact with Tenby. It's all my dreams come true."

A few hours later, she wrote: "Do they check cellphones if logima."

Morris did not reply to any of the messages.

"Maybe it's just a bloke thing, I just don't go there," he told the Bay of Plenty Times this week.

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Councillor Steve Morris. Photo / File
Councillor Steve Morris. Photo / File

Salisbury said Kiddie's text was "disappointing".

"It's disappointing that is what she chose to focus on. We have much more important things to be talking about.

"I felt like I was listening to something on a high school playground."

She said she rode with Powell on his Indian - not Harley - motorcycle to a council event at Lake Okataina.

She said all councillors were car-pooling that day. As the holder of a motorcycle licence, she thought it was a "great opportunity" ... "and that's all there is to it".

She said, in general, she had been surprised by the number of personal comments and attacks since entering politics.

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Tina Salisbury on June 2 after being appointed as deputy mayor. Photo / File
Tina Salisbury on June 2 after being appointed as deputy mayor. Photo / File

"I don't know if I am willing to accept that's just politics. I think we can do better.

"I don't think any of it is good for anyone's mental health."

Salisbury said she wanted to move on and focus on working as a governance team to make good decisions for the city.

Kiddie said she should not have sent the text, even in a private conversation.

"I shouldn't have done that, absolutely not. That's kindergarten stuff."

She said others raised the topic of how councillors dressed, and it would not normally be something she would talk about.

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"It had been raised by a couple of other people and I just embellished it, I suppose ...

"It's not really part of me to be doing, saying, stuff like that. It's just stupid banter."

Three of Tauranga's new councillors shortly after their election: (L-R) Jako Abrie, Tina Salisbury and Dawn Kiddie. Photo / File
Three of Tauranga's new councillors shortly after their election: (L-R) Jako Abrie, Tina Salisbury and Dawn Kiddie. Photo / File

She said it was out there now and there was nothing she could do about that but try to learn from it and move on with her work in the Mount Maunganui/Pāpāmoa community.

"It certainly doesn't help the image of the councillors, that's for sure. We're working bloody hard, we're still getting stuff done."

She did not know why the message appeared on Morris' record but not hers.

Kiddie said it was no excuse for what she said, but the comment came at an upsetting time where she felt councillors were not being given all the information about what was happening behind the scenes with the deputy mayor position.

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She found a message Salisbury sent her shortly after the June 2 announcement "disappointing", in that context.

Salisbury's message said she knew her appointment as deputy "isn't the outcome you were hoping for" but said she wanted to keep working together and catch up for coffee.

Kiddie replied she had heard Salisbury was going to replace Baldock in October, but supposed the council would be able to vote for the best person for the job.

A screenshot of deputy mayor Tina Salisbury's June 2 text to Cr Heidi Hughes.
A screenshot of deputy mayor Tina Salisbury's June 2 text to Cr Heidi Hughes.

"I am not convinced that having a mayor and deputy mayor fresh to local government politics is the best move for our city, not when we have experienced councillors who could do the job."

Salisbury replied that was the first she was hearing of a plan for October, and she had not sought the deputy role.

In a text exchange that day, councillor Heidi Hughes congratulated Salisbury and suggested the deputy meet with Kiddie.

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Salisbury replied: "I guess we will see what they plan next. I really hope they stop this plotting and scheming and so we get to work together on the important things for our city."

Salisbury said the comment was about a group of people, not Kiddie specifically.

Kiddie said there had been "no plotting ... no scheming".