Crossing party lines in Lavery vote

AMY JACKMAN
Last updated 09:40 07/02/2013
Kevin Lavery
Incoming Wellington City Council chief executive Kevin Lavery.

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In hiring a chief executive from England some Wellington City councillors appear to have gone against the policies of the political parties they are associated with.

Councillor John Morrison said he was surprised by who voted to bring in Kevin Lavery from England.

"It's Labour Party policy to try to keep New Zealand jobs for New Zealanders, but Labour Party councillor Paul Eagle voted for an Englishman.

"The Green Party are for equality of pay and yet the mayor and Iona Pannett voted to bring in someone from overseas on a $400,000 salary, and who knows what level of expenses, on the basis of one 50-minute interview."

Councillor Paul Eagle said a New Zealander and not Mr Lavery was the first choice for the job, but compromise was needed at the meeting in December to ensure there was an outcome.

"I voted for change and I'm happy with my vote," he said.

"Labour Party members in England also gave him the thumbs up and allayed my concerns.

"I'll be making sure this is not just a holiday experiment for the new chief executive down in the Antipodes," Cr Eagle said.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said she believed Mr Lavery was the best person for Wellington.

"He worked for Newcastle City Council, which was Labour-controlled, and for Cornwall, a Tory-led Council," she said.

"I spoke to politicians from both councils who had worked with him, among other referees. I am comfortable that he will effectively carry out the directions set by your elected representatives."

Green Party councillor Iona Pannett refused to comment on her vote.

"The debate and vote was confidential and I won't be talking about how or why I voted. I believe it's unethical," she said.

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- The Wellingtonian

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