Official complaints have been laid against a Taupō District councillor who made a comment considered to have "extremely inappropriate racial tones" at a recent meeting.
Mayor David Trewavas today said the councillor's colleagues and council staff were "in a state of shock and disbelief" after the comment.
The councillor in question has not been named.
"It was incredibly disappointing and was in no way reflective of who we are as a council, or reflective of our values," Trewava said.
"We have taken time to foster strong relationships across all sectors of the community and take great pride in providing an inclusive environment."
Official complaints lodged from both elected members and the chief executive triggered a Code of Conduct investigation into the matter, a council statement said.
Councillors were now seeking legal advice to take the matter forward, Trewavas said.
"As a council we will be asking the elected member to refrain from attending council meetings or taking part in any council-related activities until the investigation is concluded," he said.
The Taupō District Council has been contacted for comment.