As New Zealand’s youngest mayor Ben Bell drapes his blazer across the arm of his sofa and looks wistfully out his mayoral office window, a voiceover by Hokonui Breakfast’s Kirstin Chittock wishes viewers a safe and merry festive season before asking the question: “Don’t you just love Gore, actually?”

Bell’s foot begins to tap as Jump (For My Love), by the Pointer Sisters plays, and he breaks into the dance first performed by Hugh Grant’s lovestruck Prime Minister in the 2003 film Love, Actually.

Several councillors join him in dancing through the council building, with Santa Claus even making a cameo.

Gore District Council digital communications specialist Kaitlin Wright said the video came about after a brainstorming session between her and senior communications adviser Bonnie Mager.

“It’s been a really big year for the staff, councillors and Gore as a whole community, so we thought it’d be a good opportunity to do something funny and light-hearted to wrap up the year and put something feel-good out there,” she said.

Gore Mayor Ben Bell was under fire from councillors earlier this year. Photo: Sandy Eggleston/ Allied Press

Wright said the councillors who featured in the video needed little convincing after the idea was pitched.

“A couple of the councillors are quite into their dancing, which was a shock for us – a couple of dark horses in there … It was really cool how up for it everyone was.”

She said the back-end analytics of the council’s social media showed it had already had a wide reach of over 45,000 people.

While the council made a Christmas video each year, she thought this one was the first that had gone “a bit rogue”, and it had the potential to be a new council Christmas tradition.

The video received hundreds of social media comments, including from Central Otago District Mayor Tim Cadogan, and the social media pages of the Horowhenua and Rangitīkei District Councils – the latter saying the bar had now been set high for other councils.

The video caps off a tumultuous year for the Southland council, which found itself under intense media scrutiny on several occasions.

Months of discord between 24-year-old Bell and the council’s long-standing chief executive Stephen Parry divided the council for much of the early days of Bell’s tenure.

In May, Bell survived a showdown meeting, after which a motion of no confidence was no longer being pursued.

In a public apology to Parry in July, the council acknowledged media attention had undermined various relationships and the community’s confidence in its council, and had detracted from the important business it was required to undertake for its community.