GUEST BLOG: Ben Peterson – Questions about Ron Mark


Being a soldier for hire is dirty work. A soldier for hire is working for money. They aren’t driven by a set of principles, and are not fighting for a just cause or to defend their country. As such, they are often found working for unsavoury regimes, and at the hire of highly questionable people.

Individuals might find themselves compelled into such work. Even if we accept that some people will do unsavory things to make a living, you wouldn’t want those kinds of people in important positions of authority, where clear judgement is more important than that individual’s financial benefit.

Parliament would be the kind of place you would not expect to see a soldier for hire. But in New Zealand there is a mercenary in parliament- Ron Mark from New Zealand First.

The ‘honourable’ member isn’t shy about it either. His biography on the NZ First website includes the following:

TDB Recommends

“(Ron Mark) was one of five New Zealand Army officers sent to assist in setting up a new multi-national peace keeping operation the Sinai desert. Ron completed two back to back tours and was repatriated in 1983, but was refused permission by his corps to be posted to NZSAS to complete his training – a decision which resulted in Ron leaving the NZ Army in 1985 as a Captain and taking up an offer of service with the Sultan of Oman’s Land Forces and the Sultan’s Special Force in the Dhofar.”

Oman is far from a modern western democracy. It is ruled by an unelected hereditary Sultan, who has brutally put down calls for Democracy within Oman. From 1968-1976 there was an democratic rebellion which was brutally crushed, resulting in 10,000 civilian deaths. This uprising was based in Dhofar, where Mark was posted during his stint in Oman.

The Oman regime continues to have a highly questionable human rights record, particularly relating to political rights such as freedom of expression and assembly.

Ron Mark left Oman in 1990 to return to NZ and has spent much of the last 20 years building his political career in New Zealand. He is currently the deputy leader of NZ First, and should that party enter government after this year’s election, it would be likely that Ron mark would be pushing for a place in cabinet.

This should raise serious questions. Do we trust a hired gun for a theocratic dictatorship to be able to represent the interests of working New Zealanders? How can we trust this MP to respect human rights here?


Ben Peterson is a Union Rights Activist based in Auckland


    • I think there are enough questions to be asked regarding Ron Mark’s involvement in mercenary work in Oman. Ben Peterson has donme the right thing highlighting Marks’ “extracurricular” activities in Oman.

      • Ron Marks failings has little to do with extracurricular activity and much to do with the fact that NZDF and New Zealand has largley moved on since the 90’s, Ron is an advocate of the C130J which doesn’t fit the needs of NZDF, C130J cant accept the LAVs or NH90 with out disassembling them, wont have sufficient numbers for traveling over 10000ks for maintance reasons. And the fuel load isnt good enough to make it to our areas of responsibility in the antarctic.

  1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

    A vote for NZ First is a vote for the National Party.

    That’s all folks…

  2. ‘How can we trust this MP with respect to Human Rights..”
    Well the obvious starting point for that would be that he was in the Military and as such has full workin knowledge and had to abide by the Geneva convention.

    • All people want are blanks slates so they can fill in the gaps. Thats what PR merchants do and I suspect Ben is for slightly different reasons. I cant work out whats going on here but I could say the A400M or C2 are far supperior capabilities to that of the C130J. And we could do more with less air frames.

      How ever Ron Marks is correct in pointing out that jamming to many capabilities into one platform is daring. But daring is the middle name

  3. It’s good thanks Ben, we need to reflect on the past of politicians. Has he ever said he shouldn’t have been a mercenary, has he said how many people he killed. I don’t want any army or police in parliament, too many of them are a law unto themselves. +++ NZ first is really Winston’s party, he often makes policy on the hoof and he needs to go.

  4. So Ben, if all those kiwi expats serving in the following armed forces
    Australian and
    are they Mercenaries as well?

    You might would to read up on the history of the Omani Armed Forces and why they hire ex commonwealth service personal and understand the Arab culture first, before you start writing such rubbish.

    Its no wonder the trade union movement NZ is the pits if people can’t do basic research, and yes I come from a trade union family that live and breath the union movement, just google my great great grandfather Frank Henry Sherman in Canada. My dad is ex NZ Engineer’s Union official and I was card carrying AWU member before I signed back again.

Comments are closed.