Greater Wellington Regional Council has scrambled to remove a $20,000 chunk of a $150,000 advertising campaign after a series of racist Tweets from its poster boy surfaced.
The council asked its four operators to nominate drivers to promote their professions.
Drivers from Tranzit Group, NZ Bus, Mana Coach Services and Madge Coachlines featured on billboards and online ads urging people to join the profession - but the campaign was short-lived.
Historic tweets from driver Mason Dowie were sent to the council by a member of the public, reports RNZ.
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Between 2011 and 2016, 16 racist tweets were posted by Dowie.
In one he complained about walking down Auckland's Queen Street beside Indians. In another, he said Māori people and drug addicts are the same thing.
Dowie's Twitter has since been made private.
The council was forced to pull the advertisements featuring Dowie, a total cost of $19,291.
"There were historical comments I made on Twitter as a teenager and on reflection, I'm deeply ashamed and can only apologise," Dowie said in a statement to RNZ.
Dowie no longer works on the Metlink network as a direct result, according to Greater Wellington Regional Council.
"I accept their decision and took full responsibility at the time," he said.
Newshub contacted Greater Wellington Regional Council but it declined to comment.