"Beware the mongrel Mayor" and other disparaging comments about his colleagues may not land Dunedin city councillor Lee Vandervis in hot water.
In a lengthy blog that borrows from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy comedic science fiction series, Cr Vandervis adapts the allegory to opine on city council staff "intent on destroying City Life as we know it" and the failings of elected representatives.
He singles out a staff member to criticise his previous work, and seems to refer derisively to a car crash involving Mayor Aaron Hawkins and an incident where deputy mayor Christine Garey's mother was a pedestrian who was hit by a motorcycle.
The column covers issues such as lack of performance from council-owned companies, increased debt, shutting down critical speeches and questions, responses to climate change and what Cr Vandervis describes as car phobia.
Hawkins said he was aware of the blog and did not intend to lay a complaint.
The most recent breach of the council code of conduct by Cr Vandervis — for an outburst deemed intimidating — was debated in October and some councillors said enough was enough.
The code requires elected members to conduct their dealings with each other in a manner that maintains public confidence, is courteous, is focused on issues rather than personalities and avoids disrespectful language.
They must avoid publicly criticising any employee.
In his blog, Cr Vandervis starts a poem with "Beware beware the mongrel Mayor".
Councillors appeared to be "pimples on the bum of bureaucracy" and much more despised if they insisted on being scratched occasionally, Cr Vandervis wrote.
Voting was almost always a rubber stamp inked by the mayor's A team and other team players.
Cr Andrew Whiley said he felt the blog was "Lee being Lee" and the code of conduct was not an instrument to be used lightly.
However, Cr Whiley said the "poor me" theme from Cr Vandervis was getting tired.
The public was more interested in what councillors would do this year than in rehashing historical grievances, he said.
Cr Steve Walker said the column was full of "mistruths".
He had no comment on whether it breached the code, but "it most certainly does breach the memory of the late great Douglas Adams", Cr Walker said, referring to the author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Cr Carmen Houlahan suggested Cr Vandervis shorten his writing.
Local Government NZ is exploring how codes of conduct could be improved or strengthened.
Massey University local government commentator and Palmerston North City Council by-election candidate Andy Asquith said the codes were imprecise.
He felt elected members should behave better and he advocated requiring them to undergo education, training and development.
"To vent in this way is not conducive to enhancing the level of debate or engaging with the public."