Mayor Lianne Dalziel's chief of staff Cate Brett leaves office
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has lost her chief of staff, three months out from the local body elections.
Cate Brett, the former editor of national newspaper The Sunday Star-Times, will take up her new role with the Ministry of Justice next month.
Brett started with the council in early 2014 and quickly became an influential figure.
After being elected in 2013, Dalziel – a former Labour MP and Cabinet Minister – recruited a team of six staff to run her office, up from the two staff former mayor Sir Bob Parker had.
Increased responsibilities given to mayors under law changes in 2012 prompted the move to employ extra staff in Dalziel's office.
The appointments were press secretary Chris Rennie, senior adviser Eric Assendelft, community adviser Nicola Shirlaw, visits and ceremonial coordinator Louise Walton, information coordinator Ruth Close and Brett.
Shirlaw was Dalziel's campaign manager for 2013's local body elections.
Rennie left the council after about a year and Assendelft is no longer in the role.
Brett starts her new role as chief advisor of judicial development and communications next month.
A council spokeswoman said Dalziel was aware that Brett did not intend to do a second term before she announced her decision to run again.
The chief of staff job would be advertised soon and it was hoped a replacement would be found before October's election, she said.
She said there were seven full-time staff providing administrative and policy support to Dalziel and Deputy Mayor Vicki Buck.
Nine roles were initially established – five administration staff, two advisors, a press secretary and chief of staff.
One of the administrative roles was not filled and "over time the responsibilities have been absorbed by the remaining four staff", the spokeswoman said.
"The role of press secretary is currently unfilled and all the mayor's media interaction is being dealt with satisfactorily by the organisation's media manager," she said.
"The mayor's office has therefore been able to operate on a leaner basis than was envisaged when it was established."