Independent reviewers hired to assess conflict between some Tauranga City Council elected members have recommended a Crown manager and observer be appointed to help the council.
The first report of the three-person review and observation team, chaired by Peter Winder, was released late this afternoon ahead of a meeting tomorrow to present it.
The team found a host of underlying and new issues at the council, including "poor behaviour from councillors", were putting various council functions at risk.
Their observations included that the "battle for the mayoralty never ended" and the council overall had a "relatively poorly developed understanding" of governance roles and lacked strategic direction, making U-turns possible.
They said the "behaviours and approaches" of the council needed to "significantly change" if it was to perform its duties.
"To be successful, such change will require all elected members to accept responsibility for the position that the council is now in and to make changes. The team has little confidence that the council will be able to make that change without external help," the report said.
The team considered removing the council and appointing commissioners - a "nuclear option" requested by some interviewees - but found the council had not yet reached the threshold for that.
It recommended the council ask for help from the Minister of Local Government by requesting a Crown manager and observer be appointed.
The manager would help the council through its upcoming Long-Term Plan 2021-31 process and to "address its behaviour and performance issues and restore trust".
A Crown manager would have significant authority, including the ability to direct the council.
Other recommendations included more governance training for elected members - separately, not together - and better resourcing the office of the mayor.
The council is due to decide what to do with the team's options and recommendations in tomorrow's council meeting, which starts at 9.30am tomorrow.