A reference written on Masterton District Council letterhead in support of a high-profile convicted sex offender has been questioned by the sentencing judge.

Council chief executive Pim Borren wrote the reference for former Olympic hockey champion Arthur Parkin, Borren's sister's partner, who was jailed yesterday for sexual offending.

Parkin was sentenced at Auckland District Court to one year and eight months in prison after a jury in February found him guilty of two of five indecent assault charges.

Borren's letter was written under the council's office of the chief executive letterhead, and said Parkin had "made a mistake many years ago and paid dearly for it".

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Judge Robert Ronayne read aloud parts of the letter but disregarded Borren's words and appeared disturbed he had used his public office to send it.

But Borren yesterday said it was his normal practice to use his business letterhead when providing references – which was a common occurrence.

"There is absolutely no way that I condone what he has been convicted off.

"I am absolutely abhorrent of it, as anyone would be," he said.

"I was asked by his lawyer to write a character reference and I did that for a family member who I have known for 20 years and obviously care about."

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said she would not comment until she had seen the letter.
She had yet to discuss the matter with Mr Borren last night.

Borren said he had not discussed use of the letterhead with other staff or elected members at the council, but said anyone asking for a reference would expect it to be written on his business letterhead.

"Part of my credibility is based on my position in the community.

"The judge obviously has a view . . . at the end of the day, he can make whatever comment he wants to make. I won't comment on that."

- Wairarapa Times Age