Cornwall Council CEO's departure for New Zealand confirmed

The departure of Cornwall Council chief executive Kevin Lavery for Wellington in New Zealand has been confirmed by the capital city's mayor.

Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown said she and her colleagues are looking forward to working with Mr Lavery, who has been appointed for five years on an annual salary of $400,000 (£203,000)

She said she had "personally checked the credentials" of Mr Lavery by talking to "politicians from across the political spectrum" including current council leader Jim Currie and erstwhile leader Alec Robertson.

"Kevin's career thus far shows he can work with people across the political spectrum," she said, "and that his focus is on providing affordable and quality services in challenging local government environments."

Mr Lavery, who has a doctorate in urban and regional studies, apparently found the rugged coastline of Wellington attractive and "is also relishing the challenges of running a council in a cosmopolitan capital city."

Cornwall councillor for Helston South and Porthleven, Andy Wallis, greeted the news with a prompt: "so that's that then."

Mayor of Truro, councillor Rob Nolan, said he spotted Mr Lavery in Sainsbury's earlier today pushing a trolley filled with champagne.

He asked if they bottles were for a "surprise party" but was told they were "presents for staff, apparently."

Mr Lavery has been with Cornwall Council since 2008, before it became a unitary authority.

He championed the controversial idea of "part-privatisation" and oversaw budget cuts and staff losses.

He will take up his new role in March.

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