Rotorua district councillor Mike McVicker has resigned his council portfolio saying he cannot support a proposal which would give Te Arawa a stronger voice on the council.
Mayor Steve Chadwick accepted Mr McVicker's resignation as portfolio lead for the council's Sustainable Economic Growth Strategy group saying it was clear Mr McVicker would not be able to continue in his role given his public statements during and after the "leaking" to media last week of a Te Arawa discussion paper.
"He offered his resignation on Friday and, following a discussion during which we both agreed it would be extremely hard for him to work collaboratively with iwi in that role, I accepted his resignation," she said.
Last week, the Rotorua Daily Post reported that councillors had been shown a proposal which could lead to the establishment of a new Te Arawa board which would consist of eight members - six of those appointed by a Te Arawa mandated entity and two appointed during a Te Arawa hui-a-iwi (tribal meeting).
The new board could be in place by July and would replace the Te Arawa Standing Committee, which has been in recess since the council began a "cultural engagement audit" last year.
The board would be separate from the council and would allow for members to sit on council committees, be part of Resource Management Act decisions and establish its own sub-committees.
The proposal would also require the council to give its reasons, in writing, if the council did not accept the board's advice on any matters raised.
Mr McVicker said he could not and would not support the proposal which, in his opinion, was undemocratic and gave race-based privilege to Maori.
"I can't in all good conscience accept what the council is doing with this proposal, to me, it is wrong.
"I will stand strong on the issue and that takes priority for me at this time.
"It's a principled stance I'm making and I'm not going to change.
"The last thing I wanted to do was undermine [Mrs Chadwick's] leadership, I have supported her in all other matters, but this is a step too far," Mr McVicker said.
Mrs Chadwick said one of the six commitments councillors signed off as part of their Rotorua 2030 vision was to develop a new partnership model with Te Arawa.
"The growing economy in Rotorua is Maori," she said.
"The biggest ratepayers in Rotorua are Maori and Te Arawa gifted much of the land this city has been built on.
"It's important for all that council has an effective working partnership with Te Arawa," she said.
Deputy mayor Dave Donaldson will take over as lead of the Sustainable Economic Growth Strategy portfolio, and senior councillor Charles Sturt will replace Mr Donaldson in the lead role for the Sport and Recreation Strategy portfolio.