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Complaint against Tauranga mayor for foul-mouthed tirade at controversial councillor upheld, but he's not backing down

Tauranga's mayor is apologetic, but not backing down after swearing in front of council staff during a heated debate earlier this month.

Tauranga Mayor Tenby Powell. Source: Facebook

A report released late last night has upheld a code of conduct breach by councillor Andrew Hollis against Mayor Tenby Powell.

The comments were made as council staff discussed the annual plan and how it should be shared with the public, following a decision to increase rates by 12.6 per cent.

During the meeting Mr Powell said two councillors need to stop posting “s**t” to social media and that he’d never drink with a “f******g climate denying racist”, after Mr Hollis suggested going for a drink.

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The night before the meeting Mr Hollis posted a comment to social media referring to the rates rise, reading “Courageous? Arrogant more like it,” above a picture of the mayor.

Mr Hollis told 1 NEWS he was left felling 'disappointed' and that the "enormous" outburst was hurtful, however Mr Powell says he’s endured months of attacks on social media with Mr Hollis at the “epicentre”.

Prior to the complaint, Mr Hollis was criticised for his views on climate change and the Treaty of Waitangi, which were slammed by the mayor.

He suggested the councillor should resign.

Today, Mr Powell told 1 NEWS he was sorry for swearing in front of Tauranga city staff, but stands by his view that Mr Hollis’ behaviour is "hateful" and causes "deep hurt" in the community, especially to iwi.

The report states Mr Powell’s comments were aggressive, offensive and abusive, saying he failed to maintain the respect and dignity expected of an elected member.