Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson has confirmed she will run for a third term. PHOTO/FILE

PAM GRAHAM
pam.graham@age.co.nz

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson is standing for a third term in office at the local body elections this year, saying there are some big issues she wants to follow through on.

“Absolutely I’m putting my hand up again,” she said when asked.

“We’ve got a lot of big items and projects which we’ve started progressing and I’m really excited and looking forward to seeing them progressed”.

Projects included the civic centre, the rejuvenation of the town centre and Queen Elizabeth Park, and water metering to mention a few.

Addressing the ongoing maintenance of rural roads, additional investment for stormwater improvements, and seeking opportunities to increase council’s senior housing stock are some other high priorities.

Regionally, implementation of the Wairarapa Economic Development Strategy, including the development of a water resilience strategy and a skills development plan, are high priorities together with
transport links. In the area of transport, rail, as always, is a high priority.

She said there are also some big issues facing the local government sector nationally and she has views on them.

The Three Waters Review by central government will have big implications for local government as government investigates different service delivery models for potable water, stormwater and waste water, areas which have traditionally been the core business of councils.

“This is really big for our sector and I want to continue to be part of the conversation’, she said.

Late last year, the council had a hard time on the issue of the pansies in the northern traffic islands and Patterson said drought-tolerant plants were the way ahead, as had been explained.

“Water is huge for our region and I don’t know whether people have fully understood that.

“We have less take now. We can’t take as much out of the river as we used to.”

It is a new era, she said.

The wet December may have had people scratching their heads and thinking that was not the case, but it was.

There is a lot of forward-planning to be done on water issues, she said.

Patterson is philosophical about issues like the pansies.

“It’s what people see and it’s meaningful to them,” she said.

“But there’s always reasons why.”

She’s not speculating who her rivals will be, saying she’ll just wait and see.

In the past, councillors Chris Peterson, Gary Caffell and Jonathan Hooker have stood for the mayoralty.

Patterson beat Garry Daniell to become the district’s first female mayor in 2013.

Daniell had held the job since 2007 and, before that, Bob Francis was mayor for 21 years.

Patterson expects progress on issues such as the CBD rejuvenation and civic centre before the election in October but says they’re big items and should not be rushed.

The council has also put aside more than $5 million for the installation of water meters starting in 2019/20 and “that’s all round the issue of water conservation”.

The next stage of the Queen Elizabeth Park rejuvenation starts in February, she said.

Many issues people read about are operational matters and they are handled by professional staff of the council.

The mayor is the leader of the council.

“At the end of the day, we don’t employ the staff and people don’t realise,” she said.

“We only have one employee and that is the chief executive.

“I only have one vote, the same as every other councillor.”

In October, it will be time for voters to have their say and many local body politicians have been clear in the past that a good voter turnout is something they like to see.

Carterton Mayor John Booth has also confirmed he will seek re-election.

Booth was elected Mayor when Ron Mark was elected to Parliament in 2014 and was re-elected at the following 2016 Local Government elections.

“There’s still a number of things I want to see achieved and I really enjoy the community and the interaction I have with people,” he said.

South Wairarapa Mayor Viv Napier has not yet decided whether she will run for a second term.