Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta is considering appointing commissioners to take over Tauranga City Council following the mayor's shock resignation today.
Mahuta said she was informing Cabinet of her intention to look at Crown intervention options at Tauranga City Council.
"Since the local government elections in October 2019, Tauranga City Council has experienced significant conflict among elected representatives.
"As a result of dysfunction around the council table, the mayor, and one councillor, have resigned, forcing a by-election in February 2021."
An independent report, commissioned by the council, found numerous governance issues. These issues include councillors having a limited understanding of their governance role, and a failure of its elected representatives to recognise that there are problems, take collective responsibility for them, and begin the necessary steps to work towards addressing them.
The independent reviewers consider that the council will be unable to deliver a robust and credible Long Term Plan in 2021.
Mahuta said Tauranga was a rapidly growing city with significant issues and pressures, including substantial infrastructure needs. The Council has a large capital programme to meet its infrastructure needs and is near its debt limits.
"I will be receiving advice from my officials on 26 November 2020 on whether the intervention threshold outlined in part 10 of the Local Government Act has been reached," she said.
"There is a range of interventions available. My officials are considering options at the higher end of the scale, specifically whether to appoint a Crown observer (to assist the council), Crown manager (to direct the Council), or Commissioners (to replace the council).
"I will report to Cabinet in December on whether the threshold has been met and the process for making a Crown appointment should it be deemed necessary."
Tauranga mayor Tenby Powell quit in a public meeting today and called for the council to be replaced with commissioners.
His resignation came shortly after the council voted to ask the Minister of Local Government to appoint a Crown manager to help it deal with issues of dysfunction in its governance.
The manager appointment was recommended by an independent review team brought into to assess the council after months of ongoing conflict between some elected members, including the mayor.
That included an attempted coup for the deputy mayor role earlier this year, which saw Larry Baldock resign the position and Powell appoint Tina Salisbury.