A city councillor who signed a joint letter requesting the removal of Tauranga's new deputy mayor just hours after her appointment has conceded she could be a good fit for the role.
Tauranga mayor Tenby Powell appointed Salisbury at the start of a council meeting on Tuesday after announcing the shock resignation of Larry Baldock.
Baldock's resignation was prompted by a joint Ietter from six councillors requesting a June 17 meeting to remove him as deputy mayor and a vote for a new deputy.
The letter, sent to council chief executive Marty Grenfell, was signed by councillors Andrew Hollis, John Robson, Steve Morris, Dawn Kiddie, Kelvin Clout and Bill Grainger - who form a majority in the council of 11. The signatories cited a lack of democracy as a reason for the move but Baldock has rejected the accusation.
The six councillors then filed a second letter, seeking the removal of Salisbury as deputy mayor and the chance to vote for a replacement.
Clout, who was deputy mayor for six years between 2013 and 2019, said the request to remove Salisbury was in opposition to the process involved in her appointment, not against her as a deputy mayor.
"It's nothing to do with Tina because Tina could very well be a very good candidate," Clout said.
Clout said just because he and the majority of the council sought her removal from the position, did not mean they would not vote her in. He believed she would make a good deputy.
"It may be very simple reconfirming Tina, it could be that simple, it could be another person as well."
In 2012 changes to the Local Government Act gave mayors new powers to appoint their deputies and the chairs of council committees. Local Government New Zealand principal policy adviser Dr Mike Reid said the Government also gave councils, by majority vote, the power to over-rule or revoke a mayor's appointments.
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As long as there is 21 days' notice of the requisition meeting, the chief executive gives at least 14 days' notice in writing to each member, with the day, time, place, and business of the meeting, and if the majority of the council agree to remove the deputy mayor at the meeting, the role can be taken away.
Tauranga City Council chief executive Marty Grenfell said his role is "essentially to facilitate the process so the matters in the requisition can be considered and voted upon".
He said the business to be considered at the meeting included the removal of the deputy mayor and a vote on a replacement, along with consideration of committee leadership, SmartGrowth representation, and councillor remuneration.
At the end of the meeting, Tauranga's deputy mayor will be the candidate who receives the most votes.
Clout said none of the six who signed the letter had put their names forward for the role as of yesterday afternoon, and he had "no ambition to be deputy mayor again" but would be willing to consider it if the majority voted so.
Salisbury said she hoped to be given the chance to retain her role as deputy mayor when the vote took place. For the moment she wanted to focus on the job at hand.
"It's unfortunate it's happened this way," Salisbury said.
Since the controversy around the deputy mayor position on Tuesday, Powell said he had received "overwhelming support" from various sectors of the community, all in favour of his leadership and having confidence in Salisbury as deputy mayor.
He said he was confident of being able to lead the council despite the division over the deputy mayor role. When asked whether he would return for another run as mayor in the next election he said he did not want to answer that because he was committed to "service the city today".
Former mayor Stuart Crosby, who is the Local Government New Zealand vice-president, said his initial reaction to the situation was one of sadness and he hoped it would not distract the council from moving "the city forward".
"I genuinely hope that they can find a way of reconciliation as a group of elected members to resolve these issues and move forward."
He said at the end of the day "it's a numbers game" and the selection of the deputy mayor would come down to whoever had the most votes. With about three weeks before that happens, Crosby said Salisbury could still hold on to the role.
Greg Brownless, who served as Tauranga's mayor for one term with Kelvin Clout as his deputy, said traditionally a mayor chooses a deputy but the "safety measure" was that "councils could remove a deputy mayor if they didn't have confidence in them".
When he made his selection he said he talked to councillors and there was no opposition.
"There are different voices, different personalities and beliefs. There's always going to be differences of opinion but what there shouldn't be, it shouldn't reach the point where people ... are disagreeable."