Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown’s head of communications and government relations, Kate Lynch, has resigned barely six months into the job.
Brown confirmed today that Lynch is stepping away from her full-time position to pursue other opportunities.
“Kate is a very experienced communications specialist. She joined the team early in the year and has done an excellent job of setting up a communications framework to support the delivery of my vision for Auckland while working hard to establish good working relationships with the media”, Brown said in a statement to the Herald.
“It has been a great privilege to serve Mayor Brown in what has been an exciting time for New Zealand politics, so I’m delighted I can stay on in an advisory capacity to help provide strategic communications support to the Mayoral office after the election. If anyone can get a good deal for Auckland, it’s Wayne,” Lynch said in the statement.
Lynch declined to comment to the Herald about her resignation and new advisory role.
The former journalist was one of several new senior appointments made by Brown to his mayoral team in early March, with the mayor citing Lynch’s 25 years of experience in communications management at SkyCity, the TAB and the New Zealand Racing Board, and as a reporter for One News and 3 News.
Other senior appointments at the time were former National Party second-in-command campaign manager at the 2020 general election, Stu Mullin, as head of governance and operations, and Jazz Singh as head of finance and budget.
Lynch worked as communications manager for Auckland mayoral candidate and restaurateur Leo Molloy at last year’s local body election but left just weeks before he quit the race in August.
She is credited with helping to rebuild Brown’s frosty relationships with the media but landed herself in trouble in May after the Herald outed her as the person behind the release of abusive emails to councillors, and apologised.
In May, the Herald reported that Lynch and her TV sports presenter husband Andrew Gourdie had split after 12 years of marriage and the birth of two boys.
The pair met when Lynch was a news reporter and Andrew a sports reporter at TV3 and married with magazine fanfare in 2010.
The mayoral media team has undergone other changes with the departure of Brown’s early communications manager, Mapihi Opai, and press secretary Josh Van Veen, a former Ratepayers’ Alliance spokesman; moving into a policy role in the mayoral office.
Alicia King has joined the mayoral media team this month as a senior communications adviser after communication roles at the Mental Health Foundation and Amnesty International.