The main rival to Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt says the council has become dysfunctional and divided under his leadership.
Suzanne Prentice is urging voters to give the city fresh direction.
Mr Shadbolt has been mayor for five terms and is one of the longest serving in the country.
Ms Prentice says she's challenging because of concern for Invercargill City Council and the people it represents.
She says a much publicised attempt by Mr Shadbolt to remove his deputy mayor last year is proof of the division in the council.
But Mr Shadbolt says he offered Ms Prentice the opportunity to become deputy Mayor.
Ms Prentice says the council needs to attract fresh investments while Mr Shadbolt is adamant the city's development lies in existing industries.