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End of an era for MDC as Patterson leaves

Retiring Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson. PHOTO/FILE

After 15 years of serving the Masterton district, Mayor Lyn Patterson is farewelling her role as an elected member.

Patterson was first elected to the council in 2007 and won the mayoralty in 2013.

In her final address to the council this month, Patterson said leadership was about “sometimes having to make some hard decisions that are not always the most popular ones”.

“Popularity was never a motivator to me,” she said.

“What motivates me are the values I hold and the vision and aspirations I have for all people across our wonderful district.”

She said the council’s vision was to offer the best of rural provincial living.

“We want the best for everyone in our community, especially our tamariki and mokopuna.

“We want them to be proud of who they are and where they come from. That is what has driven me.”

Patterson said over her years of service, she had made a point of hearing “all voices, not necessarily the loudest ones” or the “constant cry from publicity-seeking parts of our community”.

“That is why being out and about and attending events, functions, activities in our community, and being accessible was so important to me.

“You cannot perform the legislative purpose of local government – to promote the social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of communities in the present and for the future – if you do not listen and hear the voices of all our people.

“I took that legislative responsibility very seriously.”

Patterson was proud of the many accomplishments and milestones achieved by the council during her years of service, including the Queen Elizabeth Park rejuvenation, the new skate park, continued infrastructure renewals, supporting the rebuild of the Riversdale surf club, and developing the Homebush wastewater strategy.

“The appointment in 2016 of iwi reps to council committees and to sit at the council table is one of my proudest moments as mayor,” she said.

“I sincerely thank previous councillors who had the courage against public opposition to support me and the staff in getting this across the line.

“I look back over my nine years [as mayor] with pride in what has been achieved.”

She said the 2021-31 Long-Term Plan, which was adopted by council last year, was a plan for the district to “step up” and invest in the future “for our mokopuna.

The three decisions in the plan were about funding for the new civic facility, more housing for seniors, and the Masterton revamp.

She was “saddened” that the building of a “much-needed civic facility at an appropriate site” was not progressed.

Though stoic in her final address, when it came time for Patterson to give thanks to council staff, fellow elected members, and her family, she fought to hold back tears.

After delivering her final address, Patterson was met with a standing ovation from staff and councillors.

Voting is open for residents and ratepayers to elect their new mayor. There are six candidates seeking election: Craig Bowyer, Gary Caffell, Hakepa, Jo Hayes, William Izard, and Tina Nixon. – NZLDR

  • Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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