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Mayoral race off to flier

And they’re off. Incumbent Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson faces at least one challenger in this year’s elections, Tina Nixon below. PHOTO/FILE/SUPPLIED

Incumbent, seeking third term, faces newcomer

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Masterton’s mayoral race looks well and truly on, with one contender pledging to give up 10 per cent of her salary if elected, and incumbent Lyn Patterson determined to complete work begun in her second term.

Patterson confirmed she had completed the nomination process on the opening day on Friday, while candidate Tina Nixon added some spice to proceedings by pledging to put aside 10 per cent of the $120,000 mayoral salary for community good.

Dubbing the move ‘Tina’s Tithe’, she expressed surprise that the salary was so high.

Nixon said she was at a stage of life where she would not need all of the income.

“The ultimate thing would be if all the mayors in the province actually did something like this,” she said.

Mayoral salaries are set independently by the Remuneration Authority.

After the election, councils will be allocated a pool of money – all of which must be used – from which councils must allocate remuneration for councillors.

Previously, the authority had set this amount.

Nixon said that in economic development circles there had been talk for some time about the need for a fund that gave leeway for people who had good ideas but needed a help along.

“A lot of funding these days requires matched funding. You have to either have a bit of skin in the game or someone else has to be supporting you.”

She said money from her ‘tithe’ would be put into a fund which she would have “extremely little to do with”, run by representatives from the community.

“It is not something I want councillors sitting around the council deciding on. There are better people out there with different skills that could be applied.

“I think that is one of the problems we have with councillors. We expect them to be making all the decisions. They need to be making decisions about important basic stuff and these sorts of things can be better managed by other people.”

She said across a term she would contribute $30,000.

“Once I am elected, the fund’s managers can seek contributions from philanthropists so we have a pot of money to help community good projects.”

Patterson, meanwhile, pointed to the sealed pathway and new seats around the Lake of Remembrance in Queen Elizabeth Park as examples of progress under her leadership that she wanted to continue.

Urban residents were also arriving home to find new wheelie bins with increased capacity for recycling.

She has said the civic centre project and rejuvenation of the CBD were important ongoing projects she wanted to see through and has also highlighted rural roads, stormwater improvements and social housing as issues of importance to her.

At the last council meeting Patterson thanked her staff for their work and professionalism in supporting the families, and the aviation and wider community, affected by last month’s midair collision in which two people died.

Her leadership at the time, when the national spotlight was on the region, has also been acknowledged by councillors and others.

At that meeting, her report recorded nearly 80 meetings and events attended during May and June traversing a wide range of issues and connecting with a wide range of community groups.

Patterson beat Garry Daniell, who had been in office for six years, to become the district’s first female mayor in 2013.

A chartered accountant, Patterson had previously served as a councillor for six years.

Nixon stood for council in 2016 and was not elected. She is also standing for council this year.

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