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Tauranga City Council vote to address relationship issues amid accusations of toxic workplace

Tauranga City Council elected members have voted unanimously to seek a positive way to address relationship issues which have raised community and government concern.

Tauranga City Council. Source: 1 NEWS

But in an emergency meeting this morning councillors were quick to expose a toxic workplace where one councillor was too frightened to enter the building by herself.

The council is appointing an observer team to monitor relationships within the body. 

Today, councillor Kelvin Clout described the last few months as a screenplay for "a House of Cards episode", following the release of personal emails and messages relating to an attempted coup to oust then-Deputy Mayor Larry Baldock.

Mr Clout praised the mayor for his work with central government and iwi, but said he "had failed" is his role to lead council "and we cannot withstand another two years of this dysfunction".

Councillor Jako Abrie felt the last few weeks had felt like a game of backyard scrag where a fight had broken out.

He said he's was looking forward to getting "referees" in. He used an analogy of a fish with a rotten head, but a good "tail" still has rot, and all councillors need to do better.

Deputy Mayor Tina Salisbury said the DIA letter was addressed to all, but spoke in detail of being filmed without her permission and being mocked.

"I've received foul threats over the phone, I've been secretly filmed, I've seen posts about me that incite hatred and bullying from our community," she said.

Other counicllors spoke about an "unsafe workplace" with abusive, aggressive attacks and name-calling.

Mayor Tenby Powell said there were some in council who "challenge change and some do so in an underhand way, I ask that to stop."

He said council was letting residents down and "this has to change", and he accepts his responsibility "for having played a part at that."

Once a decision has been made he says we "have a collective responsibility to represent that in our public statements without undermining each other, or this organisation."

Speaking after today’s meeting, chief executive Marty Grenfell said the unanimous adoption of all recommendations was encouraging.

"Elected members have made a clear decision. We now have a job to do and we are committed to getting on with it, on behalf of the community and the organisation," he said.

"The community can be confident that we will strive to deliver the quality services and decision-making it expects."