The scrapping of the Wellington super-city proposal earlier this week has claimed a major political casualty.
Fran Wilde, who chairs the Greater Wellington Regional Council, is stepping down at the end of the month.
Ms Wilde said she faced intense personal animosity for her support of the super-city proposal, and it was time for someone else to lead the region.
"I was reflecting the council policy, but I did become the lightning rod for all of the people who opposed it, and it's not a comfortable position to be in," she said. "It's time for somebody else to move the debate along."
She hoped they would "not be cluttered up with the baggage of the past".
Ms Wilde said by standing down as chair she would be in a better position to speak out unfettered.
She would not explain what sort of opprobrium she faced, but said that it had followed her throughout her career.
"I've always been accused of self-interest," she said.
"So when I did gay law reform, it was because I was apparently a lesbian. Although I wasn't and in fact it wasn't about lesbians.
"When I built the stadium in Wellington it was because I was gonna have it named after me," she said.
The council sold those naming rights, and it is now called the Westpac Stadium.
"Frankly, the only thing I'd like to have named after me was the Moa Point sewage plant, which I managed to get done after 20 years of debate in Wellington, because I am a bit of a s***-stirrer. I admit that, and it would have been very appropriate."
"I don't know if you're allowed to use that on air," she said.
She planned to stay on as a councillor for the rest of the current electoral term, which ended next year.
Ms Wilde, who has chaired the council for eight years, is a former Labour MP and Wellington city mayor.