An investigation has found there was good reason for Napier City Council staff to be asked to monitor councillors' social media posts.
Four councillors opposed to building a new aquatic centre had complained they were surveilled.
The independent review found the council chief executive Wayne Jack asked staff on one occasion to look at Facebook posts after the councillors penned an opinion piece a year ago.
"I consider that the chief executive had a good reason and a lawful purpose for this request," reviewer Peter Chemis, of a Wellington law firm, reported.
"He was enquiring about potential conflict of interest, bias and predetermination.
"As it happened he found nothing of note. Had he done so he said he would have passed this onto the mayor to address."
There were no privacy issues because there was good reason to do the check, and the councillors' Facebook pages were public, Chemis said.
The monitoring was revealed after Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act requests.
Administrative oversights complicated the handling of those requests, Chemis found, but this "did not involve any wilful or malicious behaviour".
Emails released alongside the review show the council objected to the draft review in November.
"The report fails to address the shortcomings and failures of persons involved," the new mayor Kirsten Wise, who was one of four councillors monitored, told Chemis after the council had looked at his draft findings.
"The report downplays the active eroding of democracy through the planned, coordinated activities, directed by the CEO on elected members."
Chemis wrote back that he had fulfilled the terms of reference given to him.
A day later the mayor replied that she appreciated the terms "limited your ability to address many of the concerns highlighted by councillors" and she was happy for him to proceed and finalise his report.
Wise today said it was time to put the matter behind them.
"We don't want to spend another dollar of ratepayer money reviewing on what has happened in the past. We now have a new council team," she said.
The mandate from the vote in local body elections in October was for councillors and the whole council to become more transparent and accountable, and that was happening, despite the review's terms of reference being "potentially too narrow".
"Look, I'm confident it won't happen again.
"We've absolutely had the conversation about what is appropriate going forward. It's been a conversation just saying if staff are going to be looking at councillors' social media pages, why are they doing that?"
Also, councillors would now always be told in advance if the council had received a LGOIMA request that involved them.