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Four weeks ago Ross Meurant introduced himself to the Gisborne public with advertisements in the Gisborne Herald carrying the headline “I’ve bin thinking…” in which he announced his intentions to run for the Gisborne Mayoralty.

What follows here is the third in our series of conversations with our mayoral candidates for the upcoming elections. Carol posed the same series of questions to all three with the intention of getting to know a little bit about the people behind the ‘Candidates’. As Ross does not actually live in Gisborne he emailed his responses to Carol’s questions, which Carol had previously put to our other two mayoral candidates Meredith and Rehette over some cups of tea at her place. Ross’s response follows below.

We hope that these conversations have offered up a couple of nuggets of insight, adding to your understanding of who these three people are, how they see the world and their place within it, and what they might have to offer us, their constituents, if they were elected to the role of Mayor of Gisborne.

Carol: Who is the greatest personal influence as you embark on this election campaign

Ross: No one. My own life’s education and experience (mistakes and success) give me the confidence to look to myself.

However, my own philosophy reflects two philosophers: Machiavelli and Jeremy Bentham. Machiavelli insisted that good fortune was the result of hard work (winning lotto the exception). Bentham said that public policy should deliver the greatest good to the greatest number.  

I subscribe to both these philosophies.

I have also endeavour to adhere to Edmund Burke, who said: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. 

Carol: Tell me something about yourself that might surprise other people.

Ross: I am a direct descendant of Chief Te Tumi-o-the-range (sp) (Correction: Chief Te Tuhi-o-te-rangi) of Ngatia Mahuta and thereby King Te Whero of Tainui. 

Carol: Name one person, dead or alive, that you’d like to walk on the beach and have a korero/conversation with.

Ross: My (deceased) maternal grandmother: Dalice Olsen nee Brady.  

P.S. This disclosure denotes Irish and Norwegian pedigree on one side.  The paternal side is French and Maori. 

Carol: What is the trait you most dislike in yourself….

Ross: I am advised that I have exceptional drive and zest and sometimes this enthusiasm can be a little daunting for people who have a lower threshold for research & decision making. This is not so much a matter of disliking this trait, but of the need to be mindful of others. 

Carol: How do you relax?

Ross: I do the gym three times a week. I play the piano accordion.  I read extensively. I enjoy to ride horse to hounds and will acquire myself a hunter steed should I win the mayoralty.

Carol: Your task is to write the Job Description for Mayor of Gisborne. What are your 3 most important KPIs and how could their delivery be measured?

Provide Leadership in managing the multi-faceted decision-making process of Council and the community inputs that impact on policy decisions by Council.  This includes input from expertise within the bureaucracy and special interest groups.

Improving transport infrastructure is a priority.  

– Another air transport provider will see reduced air fares and increased visitors which in turn enhances local business.

– Re-opening rail will provide competitive freight rates for horticulture, farmers and logging. Lower freight rates mean increased revenue for local business which can be applied to expansion which in turn creates more jobs. In turn, this this means more taxation revenue for Central Government which might be spent on health and education. Rail will reduce log truck plunder of the roads, making them safe and which ameliorates increases in rates for maintain and improve the rates. Less tong (sp) haul trucks provides environment benefits.

Promote the region at Central Government level, seeking assistance where appropriate.

I am sure the measure of my performance will be well reported by the local media.

Carol: Young people are becoming more vocal with their concerns about the future impact of climate change. Do you think the council has a role in responding to them? 

Ross: Council has a major role to play in reducing adverse environmental effects. Identifying the most deleterious impacts on the environment: from carbon emissions to endangering bees: from protection of birdlife to sustainable fisheries policy, is a duty and priority. Providing our own effective high-end technology rubbish collection/recycle/recomposite facility, is on my agenda.  

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