A third Tauranga City Council elected representative has resigned in as many months, with the aim of avoiding a "fiasco" byelection before a commission is installed next year.
Following Heidi Hughes' resignation today, the byelection has been postponed until next year, but was expected to be cancelled by the appointment of commissioners before the nomination period ended.
Hughes told the Bay of Plenty Times the main reason she resigned was to avoid a messy and confusing byelection.
"It was going to be such a fiasco of a byelection ... and $250,000 is an enormous sum of money.
"It's easier and clearer and more sensible just to do this now."
She said the impact on her personally - which will include foregoing the salary she would have received until the commission arrived - would not be as big as the impact the byelection would have had on the city.
She was not concerned about losing her status as a councillor, saying she would still be able to make her view known to the commission as a resident of the city if need be.
"I'm moving on, anyway. I am not intending to have a big piece in the next part of the process."
Council electoral officer Warwick Lampp announced he had postponed the byelection under the Local Electoral Act this afternoon, issuing a public notice countermanding the earlier notice of a byelection for two vacant positions.
He said it would be restarted on January 15 with nominations opening for the now three vacant seats - mayor, Ōtumoetai ward councillor and at-large councillor.
The nomination period will close on February 15 but it is not likely to reach that point.
The commission is expected to be appointed on February 8, at which point the byelection would be cancelled.
He expected this would save the city about $250,000 in byelection costs.
He said he looked at options to extend the postponement until the commissioners started, but none worked out. The Act did not offer any option to cancel the byelection based only on the announcement a commission would be appointed.
The timing of the commission appointments have not been confirmed by the Government, but a November briefing to the minister from the Department of Internal Affairs released publicly this week laid out a proposed timeline that would see the commission's term start on February 8.
Acting mayor Tina Salisbury praised Hughes' decision as "selfless" and said it reflected the tireless way her colleague had approached her role as a councillor.
Both Salisbury and Hughes were elected to the council for the first time last year.
Salisbury said she also looked at the option of resigning for the same reason as Hughes, but vacating the acting mayor position had wider implications for the city that ruled this option out.
There is no acting deputy mayor.
She said the situation could have been avoided if no candidates had been nominated.
Six people put their names forward to stand in the byelection: Brian Friend, Kelvin Clout, Jos Nagels and Greg Brownless were nominated for mayor, and Kim Williams and Murray Guy were nominated for the ward councillor position.
The nominations will carry forward to January.
Both Clout and Brownless said they were okay with the prospect of the byelection being postponed.
Brownless said all he ever wanted was certainty about the commission timeline and Clout said he stood by his decision to run, saying he was fulfiling his duty in putting up his hand to lead the city.
Williams said she was still disappointed at the minister's decision to bring in commissioners rather than let the byelection run its course.
She said she might have considered withdrawing her nomination if Salisbury had contacted her.
Hughes' decision follows the resignation of Tauranga mayor Tenby Powell in November and Pyes-Pa Ōtumoetai ward councillor Jako Abrie in October.
Eight councillors remain.
The resignations were part of a tapestry of challenges for the council this year, capped off with Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta's confirmation last Friday she would replace the council with a commission.
The commission will take over the functions and duties of the council. Councillors will lose their salaries once the commission is appointed, and will no longer be able to perform their roles.