Ron Mark wants a shot at be­ing Wairarapa’s man

Wairarapa News - - CONVERSATIONS - PIERS FULLER

‘‘Give me three years in the job and if I suck at it, you can kickme out’’

The elec­torate hasn’t had a heavy hit­ter in Par­lia­ment since Wy­att Creech, says Wairarapa seat hope­ful Ron Mark, who be­lieves he can be that man.

The NZ First list MP is gun­ning for the elec­torate seat and backs him­self to be a ‘‘force­ful ad­vo­cate’’ for the re­gion, but he will have to get past an in­cum­bent with a strong base and a Labour ri­val who may split the nonNa­tional vote.

Mark is ask­ing vot­ers to back his track record and give him a shot.

‘‘Ku­mara doesn’t tell you how sweet it is, you have to taste it. Give me three years in the job and if I suck at it, you can kick me out,’’ he said.

He points to the fact the past two Na­tional party Wairarapa MPs have been well down their party lists and spent their time in Par­lia­ment work­ing from the back benches. Mark thinks he can do more.

Even though he is ex­pected to be a shoo-in to get into Par­lia­ment on the NZ First list with the pos­si­bil­ity of a po­si­tion in a coali­tion govern­ment cau­cus he said he wants to have a man­date to rep­re­sent Wairarapa.

Mark earned a level of po­lit­i­cal cred­i­bil­ity in Wairarapa hav­ing been voted Carter­ton mayor in 2010 and 2013.

Ed­u­cated at Tararua Col­lege in Pahiatua Mark grew up with var­i­ous Wairarapa fam­i­lies and later went into the army. He has served on trust boards of var­i­ous Maori com­mer­cial en­ti­ties and has been ap­pointed to three district health boards while he was mayor and was lead ne­go­tia­tor of Treaty set­tle­ments.

His first tilt at pol­i­tics was when he ran as the Labour can­di­date for the Sel­wyn District in Can­ter­bury in 1993 and lost.

He got into Par­lia­ment as NZ First list MP from 1996 un­til 2008 when the party failed to make the five per cent thresh­old. He re- en­tered Par­lia­ment on the NZ First list in 2014 af­ter step­ping down from the Carter­ton may­oralty.

A vo­cal op­po­nent of the cur­rent Wairarapa com­bined district council plan, he backed a push of uni­tary council for the area at the time of the Welling­ton re­gional gov­er­nance re­form.

‘‘If you sac­ri­fice a level of democ­racy you cur­rently have then you have to have a good rea­son for it.’’

WAR­WICK SMITH

While Ron Mark is still Peters’ right hand man, he also wants the man­date to be Wairarapa’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

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