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