Horowhenua District councillors have passed a vote of no confidence in their mayor Michael Feyen.
Deputy mayor Wayne Bishop initiated the move against the first term mayor at an extraordinary meeting of the council this morning.
The vote was carried seven votes for and one against, with two councillors absent, and followed a report in which Bishop said Feyen's leadership was "divisive, unprofessional and, frankly, dishonorable".
The report accused Feyen of making decisions within the mayoral office rather than around the council table, and using the media to advance agendas and "vendettas".
"As elected members we have no confidence in mayor Feyen to lead us, the Horowhenua District Council to represent us, or our community," the report said.
Bishop said the mayor had since his election "either failed to understand his role and that of his office or has chosen to ignore and disrespect the trust, confidence and powers bestowed on the position of mayor and the mayor's office".
"The mayor has failed to understand or chosen to ignore the importance of governance versus management and, instead, continually undermined the management of the Horowhenua District Council and in particular our chief executive."
Feyen, who has repeatedly said he campaigned for transparency in the council, said any accusations of bullying or harassment were "absolute rubbish" and "below the belt".
He said he was pleased there was a new government and Attorney General so they could look into the issues at the council.
He said he was presented at his first council meeting as mayor with three notices of motion which contradicted topics he had based his mayoral campaign on, and which nine councillors voted for, including two new members who had little to no briefing.
"I was immediately concerned that we had an issue of predetermination," he said.
"There's no two ways about it, getting voted in as mayor was a fundamental change in leadership styles [and] in what people wanted.
"A notice of no confidence is not going to get me out of this position.
"I am absolutely and utterly challenging a lot of what occurs in [the council]."
Bishop said Feyen had displayed other concerning behaviours which he considered to be an abuse of the role of chairperson for meetings "in order to grandstand in front of the public gallery, live streaming and the media present."
He said the divisive, unprofessional and dishonourable behaviour of the mayor could no longer continue without some form of consequence.
Ross Campbell was the only councillor to vote against the move at the Monday morning meeting.
He said many of the accusations against the mayor were not the feeling of the whole community.
The NZ local council
states: "mayors, like councillors, are elected by their district for a three-year term. Mayors cannot be removed from office by the council".
On Monday afternoon, Local Government New Zealand spokesperson confirmed this:
"A vote of no confidence carries no statutory weight and therefore no legal consequences for the person involved."
A meeting of the Horowhenua District Council descended into chaos and had to be abandoned last Wednesday.
Councillor Barry Judd initially called for a point of order, then left the meeting when it was disallowed.
He was followed by Ross Brannigan, who was asked to leave by Feyen, citing abuse, along with other councillors and some council staff.
The meeting was then unable to be continued due to lack of a quorum, and a live stream was immediately cut.
Feyen continued to attempt to read a report on the ructions at the council to the full public gallery, while further unsuccessful efforts to stop him included the turning off of lights and microphones in the chambers.
The extraordinary meeting of council was arranged for Monday morning so the rest of the agenda items could be worked through.
Instead, councillors opted to put the mayor's position to a vote.