Tauranga mayor Tenby Powell says councillor Andrew Hollis should resign over his controversial Treaty of Waitangi comments.
Powell said, in his opinion, Hollis had shown he had pre-determined views and should not be allowed to participate in any council decisions relating to iwi or the Treaty, which was most decisions.
Hollis, however, said he would not resign and stood by his comments, saying they will not conflict him in any decision.
He said he had more positive feedback than negative and he would be "nuts" to disregard it.
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"I actually think that if I had bought this up prior to the election process a lot harder than I had, then Tenby's position as mayor might even be challenged," he said. Hollis placed fourth in the mayoral race, more than 11,500 votes behind Powell.
Hollis was accused of racism after making social media comments supporting burning the Treaty of Waitangi, calling it a joke and saying it was past its use-by date.
Hollis has denied he is racist.
In a Local Focus story published on the Bay of Plenty Times website on Saturday, Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon called for Hollis to resign , as did local Māori.
Powell has said he does not agree with Hollis' comments but previously stopped short of calling for his resignation, saying more than 7000 people voted for Hollis.
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He said he was "bewildered" by Hollis' views, which did not represent the rest of the council.
Powell told the Bay of Plenty Times he had been reflecting on the matter for the last few days.
Powell said in his view: "I think he should resign. He is deeply conflicted on anything regarding iwi and the Treaty."
Powell said he believed the big question was whether Hollis would take the oath when the new council was sworn in on Thursday at 1pm.
In the oath - or declaration - councillors promise to work impartially in the best interests of Tauranga and uphold the Local Government Act and other acts. The Act includes Treaty-related provisions and principles for councils.
Elected members cannot act as a member of the council until sworn in.
"I hope that if Andrew does take the oath and if he is genuine in his desire to abide by the code of conduct and be impartial and work hard for all communities, then there is an opportunity for Andrew to grow."
Hollis said Powell had "a number of positions" and the two were due to meet today.
Hollis denied he was either racist or "conflicted on any local iwi issues".
"There's no conflict in what I have said at all. What I have said is there comes a time when settlements need to be completed and the Waitangi Tribunal gets disbanded."
Put to him he also made disparaging comments about the Treaty, and there were Treaty provisions in the Act the council must uphold, he said:
"I haven't said anywhere that I will not uphold the Treaty, I have just said I disagree with it.
"I might disagree with an 80km/h speed limit but I will still uphold it."
He said he would work with iwi in the same way as any other group. Treaty issues needed to be able to be discussed, and councillors needed the freedom to express their views.
"I haven't done anything in particular to upset local iwi except say there will come a time when settlements need to finish."
He said his "suggestion that burning the Treaty might be a good idea" came from a heated discussion and was not meant literally.
Another new councillor, Jako Abrie, posted on his professional Facebook page that Hollis should resign.
He expressed the view: "How can a person who wants to 'burn the treaty' fulfil their legal obligation to Māori?"
He later deleted the page after a row erupted under the post. He said he did not want to give space to "keyboard warriors or trolls", nor spend time policing them.
Hollis said he did not care about Abrie's view.
Opinions differed among the rest of the councillors. Most either disagreed with Hollis' comments but did not say he should resign, or did not want to take a position - either at all or without speaking to Hollis.
Councillor Steve Morris said he disagreed with Hollis' views but did not think he was a racist or that he should resign.
"Calling someone a racist for having strong opinions diminishes the word."
Councillor Larry Baldock said if Hollis continued to promote his opposition to the treaty once he was a sworn councillor, he would support a censure.
Declaration for elected members
I declare that I will faithfully and impartially, and according to the best of my skill and judgment, execute and perform, in the best interests of Tauranga City, the powers, authorities, and duties vested in, or imposed upon, me as Member of the Tauranga City Council by virtue of the Local Government Act 2002, the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987, or any other Act.
Source: Tauranga City Council
Local Government Act
Section 4, Treaty of Waitangi, states:
In order to recognise and respect the Crown's responsibility to take appropriate account of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and to maintain and improve opportunities for Māori to contribute to local government decision-making processes, Parts 2 and 6 provide principles and requirements for local authorities that are intended to facilitate participation by Māori in local authority decision-making processes.