Faced with an independent report that said he was struggling to do significant aspects of his job, Invercargill Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt tried to deflect the unflattering attention.
He pointed the finger at Invercargill councillors, said he was not given enough administrative support and described himself as the victim of a vendetta.
"The actual content of the report, I am not willing to wear," he said.
"I refuse to take the mantle of convenient scapegoat."
Sir Tim (73) said the report, prepared by independent evaluator Richard Thomson, was flawed and he suggested too much of it was aimed at his shortcomings and those of deputy mayor Nobby Clark.
"Anyone who has faith in this report, with its glowing praises and singularly directed criticisms, is also likely to believe that we shall soon see Auckland Island pigs flying over Queens Park."
Mr Thomson’s report, released yesterday, said there was a clear consensus the mayor was struggling to fulfil significant aspects of his role. The result of this was a leadership void.
There was also no working relationship between the mayor and chief executive Clare Hadley.
The dysfunctional dynamics extended to new deputy mayor Cr Clark, who many interviewees said was aggressive and rude.
Cr Clark said the report was challenging, but he was willing to take its findings on the chin.
Sir Tim had previously accepted the findings of the report, but was not so accepting yesterday.
He did, however, believe the planned intervention of two external observers could be positive.
Concerns were raised before last year’s election about Sir Tim’s ability to follow what was happening at meetings, but he was still re-elected.
Yesterday, he said there was a culture of one-upmanship among councillors and he delivered a withering review of their conduct.
Several councillors were startled by the mayor’s comments.
Cr Darren Ludlow said the council unanimously received the report and accepted its findings.
Southland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Sheree Carey said the chamber supported the report’s findings.
"I’m just really confused about Sir Tim’s reaction to it.
"If you have an independent review coming out saying he is the major problem, then he needs to take responsibility and not continue to blame other people."