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Ron hits the right mark

Carterton Mayor Ron Mark. PHOTO/ELLIE FRANCO

“It’s not my first time in this rodeo.”

It’s a homecoming of sorts for Carterton’s new mayor Ron Mark, who makes a return to the position after a successful career in central government.

Mark, who received 2137 votes, previously served as Carterton’s mayor from 2010 to 2014 and spent almost 20 years as a Member of Parliament for New Zealand First [1996-2008 and 2014-2020].

He became New Zealand First’s deputy leader in 2015 and was later appointed Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs in 2017, positions that befitted his military career, which spanned nearly 20 years.

Mark said he wanted to return democracy to the council table and said the previous chief executive officer and management “got some things grossly wrong”.

“This is a good-looking refresh,” he said of his fellow elected members.

“There are some people in there that I voted for – clearly I’m happy with that.

“There are some people who have returned from the last term, and we’ll need to have a sit-down and a conversation about how things will move forward from 2022.

“There will clearly be changes, and my aim is to get people on the same page.”

Mark was pleased with his win over the incumbent mayor Greg Lang [who received 1714 votes], but said he had “a few concerns” about the voting process.

“The number of people who didn’t receive voting papers, the number of people who did receive papers and didn’t vote, and those who have put votes in the mail but they’ll arrive in Christchurch too late.

“I just think constitutionally that is open to questioning by every court of law.

“It leaves me wondering why local body elections aren’t run the same as central government elections.

“That is the question we are going to ask.”

His approach to the role would be no-frills, he said, describing his priorities as “high-quality democracy, better engagement with the community, getting back to the basics and focusing on things that really matter, like infrastructure”.

“Not rainbows or unicorns.”

He would also not roll over to central government or regional council demands.

“There are battle lines being drawn. If they expect us to roll over and get our tummies tickled, they’ve got another thing coming.”

It was still early days, but Mark had already caught up with South Wairarapa’s new mayor and was looking forward to catching up with Masterton’s new mayor.

“I’m looking forward to working with the two new mayors in the north and south.

“I’m absolutely convinced that between the three of us, we can work with the things thrown at us by regional and central government.”

Lang, who was Carterton’s mayor for a term and was previously a two-term councillor, said it had been “a privilege” to serve the community.

“Congratulations to all the candidates that put themselves forward and to those that were successful.

“My immediate priority is reinvigorating our [wheelwright] business and focusing on what’s important to my family.” -NZLDR

  • Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
  • Additional reporting by Mary Argue
Ayling’s ascent hangs in the voting balance

Four new faces have been elected to Carterton District Council, based on progress results: Steve Laurence, Steve Gallon, Lou Newman, and Grace Ayling.

But Ayling’s ascent to the council is by a narrow margin, having received 1744 votes, just 13 votes ahead of currently unsuccessful candidate Roger Boulter.

The final result declaration will be made on Thursday, October 13, which will include final votes already in transit and special votes.

An additional 400 votes are expected to be included in the final tally.

Although Laurence, a well-known businessman, is a newcomer, he received the most votes of any elected member.

The newcomers will join current councillors Dale Williams, Steve Cretney, Brian Deller, and Robyn Cherry-Campbell.

Williams, who has previously served on other district councils and has extensive governance experience, took the top spot in last year’s by-election.

Cretney and Cherry-Campbell both joined the ranks in 2019.

Deller now enters his third term on council.

As the council welcomes in new faces, it has also lost its longest-serving councillor Jill Greathead, who has represented the Carterton community as an elected member since 2001.

Last triennium, she ran with the intent to advocate for a better model to deliver local government services.

She also advocated for enhanced and transparent decision-making to empower the community.

Elected members would be sworn in on October 26 at the inaugural council meeting.

A powhiri would be held at noon with the meeting to start at 1pm.


Progress results [votes received]


Greg Lang [1714]


Roger Boulter [1731], Michael O’Donnell [1534], Jill Greathead [1265], Andy Rogers [1094], Ben Dugdale [1091], Thomas Lissington [833]


Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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