The youngest Tauranga City councillor, Jako Abrie, has resigned and called for the council to be replaced with commissioners.
However, the mayor and other councillors have rejected the claim commissioners need to be called in.
In a statement sent to media today, Abrie, 31, said he handed in his resignation to council chief executive Marty Grenfell on Thursday.
A first-time candidate and former strategic asset manager for Trustpower, Abrie was surprised when he was elected to represent the Pyes Pa ward one year ago.
The first year of this council group has been marred by a series of clashes between some elected members, including an attempted coup that led to the deputy mayor quitting and being replaced, councillors calling for mayor Tenby Powell to resign, and a bombshell release of elected member texts and emails under official information legislation that revealed more about the conflicts.
Following a 'please explain' by central Government, the council agreed to bring in a review and observation team to probe the issues and monitor elected members.
The team, chaired by Peter Winder, is in place and expected to deliver it's first report next month.
The text release also revealed Abrie considered resigning earlier this year. He later told a council meeting he believed the whole council should be replaced.
He repeated that view in his statement today, calling for commissioners to be brought in.
"When I ran for council, I'd hoped to make a genuine difference in the community. I quit my previous job shortly after being elected to fully dedicate my time to the new role and have worked hard to represent the people of Tauranga.
"Unfortunately, I have found the political environment seriously dysfunctional. Tauranga City Council is facing unprecedented challenges, and needs to invest billions of dollars into infrastructure over the medium term.
"I don't believe this group of elected members can work together to face these challenges. We should step aside, so that the Local Government Minister can implement stable governance.
"This will be unfair on some elected members, but I'm convinced commissioners would be best for Tauranga.
"The decision was not an easy one. I have enjoyed meeting many new people and helping where I have been able.
"I was pleased to see the controversial begging ban reversed, a Māori ward progressed, kerbside recycling approved, and housing and homelessness prioritised by central and local government.
"I have also been particularly impressed by Tauranga City Council staff who responded exceptionally during the national emergency. Tauranga is fortunate to have dedicated and hardworking staff keeping this city running.
"I look forward to continuing roles as a trustee and volunteer with local homeless charities and spending more time with the people I love.
I will take time off before searching for another role."
Abrie declined to make further comment when contacted by the Bay of Plenty Times, but confirmed his resignation was effective immediately.
Tauranga mayor Tenby Powell said he was "tremendously saddened" by Abrie's resignation.
"He is a voice for much-needed change and the city will miss his intelligence and thoughtfulness."
He was not, however, surprised by the councillor's decision.
"Jako hasn't been happy."
"What you see here is a young person who, while very intelligent, lacked experience and lacked an understanding of what local government is all about. It's a constant select committee. Unlike central government, there are no red, blue, green, black teams."
He said the council was divided and going through a "tough" process of change.
"Tauranga is - kicking and screaming - being dragged into the 21st century."
He said he was "disappointed" by Abries comments about commissioners.
"I don't agree with him."
He said there would be a by-election in February to fill Abrie's seat and while it would be up to the electors to choose a new councillor, he was hoping for someone "progressive".
"It would be heartbreaking to end up with a conservative handbrake that holds the city back given how far we have come in a year," he said, in his view.
Asked if candidates may be reluctant to enter the fray given the publicised clashes, he said he said the environment was "not for the faint-hearted".
"I would discourage a shrinking violet from running.
"It needs someone who cares deeply about the future of the city."
Tauranga City Council chief executive Marty Grenfell has been contacted for comment.
City councillors react
Councillor Steve Morris believed Abrie had made the best decision for him and his family and therefore supported him, although said he would be missed.
"If his heart isn't in it, it's the right thing to do. I know he was shocked and surprised to get elected as he only stood to highlight the issue of homelessness in Tauranga.
"I understand [his decision], the last 12 months have been the worst I've experienced in my seven years on council and probably my entire working life."
Morris said while he was an unwilling councillor, he brought engineering experience and a kind heart to the table.
Morris hoped the upcoming by-election would provide the opportunity for a centre-right candidate to come into the council to bring, "balance".
"The balance of council decisions has certainly been to the left or progressive end of the spectrum.
"That's why a number of recent decisions by the council have been deeply unpopular in our community. The reality is we live in a centre, centre-right city."
Councillor Larry Baldock said he was disappointed in Abrie's decision but disagreed with his call for commissioners.
"Resignations and by-elections during a three-year term can be quite destabilising."
He said the call for a commissioner was, in his opinion a "simplistic thought", and an option that did not happen often because once central government intervened, "it's hard to get back to democracy".
"Unfortunately, democracy can deliver up a mixed bunch of elected members and again, you're back to square one.
"I think the city has to grow in the way it votes and the way in which it investigates the candidates.
"We tend to end up with what we have done for a long time, which is a fairly divided council between those who want to invest in things of the city and those who want to keep rates low."
He said Abrie was a nice guy who was making a good contribution.
Heidi Hughes, who is also in her first term, believed the council had lost a great contributor.
"I wish city governance could be chosen across skillsets and served for a max of two terms rather than by the voting minority.
"I struggle with the lack of diversity and perspectives. Jako represented a younger voice and it showed in his contribution."
With that said, Hughes did not agree with Abrie's call for a commissioner either.
"I don't think that our local council system is serving our community well in general ... But I also don't think that having everyone resign now would be the best thing for our city.
"Our organisation is solid and I believe we are tackling the big issues of growth equity and sustainability with dedication."
Deputy mayor Tina Salisbury said together the pair had made great decisions and she was disappointed but understood Abrie had not felt the council was a "good fit" from the beginning.
"Politics is not for everyone.
"None of us could have anticipated the political environment we would be facing in this triennium, and although the relationships between a few have been challenging at times, we have continued to make great decisions for our city.
"We all stood to represent our city, to engage with our community and to make great decisions, and I believe we have and will continue to do that."
Salisbury disagreed commissioners were what Tauranga needed right now.
"But I agree that despite the polarised views among us, the elected members could behave in a more respectful and professional way towards each other while we get on with the enormous amount of work our residents have elected us to do on their behalf."
While "definitely" opposing the idea of bringing in commissioners, councillor Kelvin Clout said he would miss Abrie's "youthful perspective and his sense of social justice"
"I believe he actually got on well with all his councillor colleagues.
"Whilst we do have some governance relationship issues we are still able to make progressive decisions for our city, and our management and staff do a fantastic job on the whole."
Clout believed elected members were now getting to the point where they would "agree to disagree" and "just get on with the job" they were elected to do.
"Not only do we not need commissioners, but I am looking forward to getting on and running the city without the need for the oversight of our costly Review and Observer Team."