GUEST BLOG: Ross Meurant – ROSS ARDERN Poisoned Chalice


Late 1974 early 1975 I was promoted to sergeant from CIB – Auckland Central.

Ross Ardern was a cop in my section   – usually assigned to Mt Albert I car.

He was a standout – that’s why I remember him – nothing to do with his daughter being PM

An exceptional young cop.

Always impeccably attired.

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Exceptionally well mannered – in contrast to many young male cops who subscribe to a more robust attitude – very much conforming to “police culture’ and peer pressure.

Most noticeable feature was his high standard of reports AND effectiveness in achieving positive outcomes.  

No drama. Just went about the tasks cool and confident.

He is the highest rating I ever gave a subordinate – even by the time I was inspector – never came across a cop (given his /her rank at the time) who performed at such an impressive level. 

These rating should still be on his personal file at Police HQ.

This was the time of the Dawn Raids.    

I was not assigned to Bastion Point or the Dawn raids – my “poisoned chalice”  came later – Red Squad.

Ross Meurant resigned from the police at inspector rank in 1987 to enter parliament as a National MP. Today he is Honorary Consul for Morocco and trustee and CEO of commercial assets owned by absentee Russian investors.



  1. Cool, crisop, relevant comment from you Ross Meurant. Ross seems a good name to have! I have been thinking – you will diss it perhaps – but could we change, could the Police Force change, to a whole different style of interaction with the public, especially young males’ getting involved in sports and music instruction with them in gyms going on to sports teams, possibly going to national competition, and music in group formations as in brass bands etc. where learning, goal setting, teamwork all come into ‘play’. This would give the young fellas something to concentrate on, a skill to work for, like-minded people to form allegiances with, and travel to play with and against others. Men I think, need to learn to control themselves and have a personal goal. The present individualistic general education does not allow them to choose a direction for themselves and both sport and music offer a base skill that they can pour themselves into, and then act as a base skill to carry on with other learning and vocational skills.
    If everything goes on as at present, with government increasingly becoming distant and inhuman, and business treating the population as units which they take off the shelf when desired, and then return or bin as preferred, the police must end up being feared and hated, and the two-way reactions will escalate.

  2. Interesting background Ross Meurant.
    But it reads as the introduction to an article which was never completed. What exactly was Ross Ardern’s “poisoned chalice”, and what, if anything does that have to do with the current position of Jacinda Ardern?
    It is in the nature of institutions like the Crown that they can create the conditions in which good people are compelled by duty or obligation to do bad things.
    Sometimes those good people are aware at the time that what they are doing is wrong. Sometimes they have just an inkling of a belief that things are not quite right.
    Sometimes they are totally oblivious to the wrongs that they do.
    Best not to judge them too harshly either at the time or with hindsight.
    I was caught up in the dawn raids. Living with a Polynesian household, a 3am knock on the door saw me dragged off to Her Majesty’s Mt Eden Prison for refusing military service to the Crown. I don’t think Jacinda’s apology applies to me, and don’t expect that the Crown will ever offer me an apology. Indeed, if they ever did I would have to ask myself how I had betrayed my principles so grievously as to invite such a gesture of friendship from the colonialist regime.
    The Crown has become adept at apologizing for the evil it wrought thirty years ago or more, and revealing the dirty secrets of a past generation of politicians. But its focus, and ours, should be more on the present and the future. Let them acknowledge that their neo-liberal policies of the moment are causing anguish in homes across the motu, and let them cease and desist.

    • Geoff
      The inference I took from Barry Soper’s Herald hit on Jacinda/Ross was that Ross Ardern was on the Dawn Raids. That was his poisoned chalice.

      I dont know whether he was or not on the raids but he was, as a constable, and he had no choice if he was so assigned.

      As always, I am carerful and deliberate with material I produce – sometimes it has been vicious –
      but because of my accuracy and etc I have never been sued.

      I have on occasions reached subjective assessments – based on my pedigree and knowledge of the subject matter – but I never seek to tarnish by insinuation.

      Perhaps you might re read what I say in the blog.


      • Ross – What about the thought of a Ross Meurant Institute for Strength and Wellbeing? Where there was an holistic approach of training for different levels of maturity and angst in learning philosophy, physical fitness, arts mostly music, and a trade? The idea to grow young adults into a mould that would be strong enough mentally and physically to cope with the sadness, the confusion, the overcoming of cutting criticism and insults spoken and unspoken that occur in life to everyone, but particularly those trying to rise from a position of difficulty in life. It’s got a good sound, that title, and an experienced man knowing life in the round, from all sides, could make a huge difference, It could include input from Celia Lashlie’s programs which seem still fresh for those involved, and who don’t want them to die now she has gone.

      • Ahh yes Barry Soper. No chance of an objective opinion piece. It was an appalling attempt at a right wing media beatup. Gutter journalism.

      • Thanks Ross.
        I had a quick look at Barry Soper’s article and to me it didn’t seem like an attempt at character assassination.
        It appears to be a fact that Ross Ardern was involved in the dawn raids in his role as a police constable.
        I know of a similar case of a Ngati Whatua army officer who was ordered to evict his own iwi from Bastion Point and did so, but felt the moral burden of his obedience to the end of his life.
        You could find countless similar cases where good people were required to do bad things in the name of the state.
        There is nothing to be gained by vilifying them.
        However there is still a moral and philosophical problem to be addressed: Should one obey the state in violation of one’s own conscience?
        Most of us would say “Only to a point” but exactly where that point lies is different for each of us.
        Ross probably would not be Administrator of Tokelau if he had blotted his copybook in 1974 and Jacinda might not have become Prime Minister of New Zealand if she had not had a stint working for the government of British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
        The verdict of history will be that the dawn raids were racist and Tony Blair was a war criminal. But there is a rider to that verdict, which is that from pragmatic point of view Ross Ardern was right to go out on the dawn raids, and Jacinda was right to have worked as a policy advisor to Tony Blair.
        Make of that what you will.

        • …’I know of a similar case of a Ngati Whatua army officer who was ordered to evict his own iwi from Bastion Point and did so, but felt the moral burden of his obedience to the end of his life’…


          Powerful points. Appreciate the rest of your post.

    • The Police used to run discos and sometimes live band events for young people for years in Kaitaia.
      Once a month there was entertainment alcohol free with snacks and decent sounds for koha.
      All funded by the Police.
      Nothing like that now no youth aid section =no community relationship= no respect= no trust.
      A recipe for dysfunctional communities.

      • Yes 🙂

        Then the funding for police was cut back until the station was barely staying alive at one time. ..The last stop for the Far North.

  3. @RM
    “No drama. Just went about the tasks cool and confident.”
    Lucky him.
    Unlike myself after nearly 40 years of your natzo’s particular iteration of neoliberalism injected into labour by various brain farts of stealthful natzo criminal genius I personally feel hugely dramatic, boiling hot and entirely lacking in confidence in my fellow Left leaning AO/NZ humans much less the oily, frog eyed national party and its minions agog and gaping at other people’s money.
    Adern’s father was a cop. My father was a farmer. Adern’s father was/is feared. My father was despised. The cops are almost certainly about to be armed. Farmers can feed 40 million yet we have homelessness and hunger.
    [Things] like that don’t get that fucked up by chance or by accident.

    • “Ardern’s decision to cut Hosking off led to a smattering of rage across column inches, including a complaint from gallery veteran Barry Soper that the prime minister doesn’t host 9th floor drinks for the press gallery any more. While we don’t think the prime minister herself owes us a glass of wine, we would like to note that since NZ First left Parliament, and National had its parliamentary budget cut way back, parties at Parliament have become rarer and sparser.”

      Poor Barry, he misses his regular 9th floor drinks with his pals John, Bill, Steven and Gerry.

      • Right on Bert

        I wasn’t often invited by Bolger- he and i did not see eye to eye
        erudite gorse farmer versus erudite cop?

        ha hah

  4. I wonder if the apologies will continue for each previous Ardern generations destructive actions upon the poor and oppressed?

    • Depends if its heartfelt or politically motivated, I guess. I voted for Adern as she’s in my electorate, I also voted Green to keep them in power. I would have just as soon as voted Winfred. Basically I think she’s a Blairite. But I would sooner vote Labour than National , – or , – heavens forbid, – ACT !

      Essentially, all we’ve had for nearly 40 years are neo liberals, their apologists and their baton passing.

      All of them need to go.

  5. Ross nice to read something positive about someone for a change. Most RWNJ’s want to bury Jacinda.

  6. Ross, your blogs are always good to read; truly appreciate hearing about the ‘real’ values and not ratings chasing beat-ups. I think you have given us a wee glimpse into why our PM is who she is; I think the values you saw in Ross A have been instilled in her. Thanks.

  7. What does everyone think of this? More guns for police, or just better access to them. It is inevitable that they would think about this now. We have new crims coming in from Oz, we have stresses mounting in NZ because of the determined reductions in wage levels, set against rising housing costs that government is too impotent or uncaring to do anything about.
    Climate change is causing a growing extra discomfort on top of all the known discomforts, (stating the situation mildly), and authorities make it harder for people trying to cope in their own way, and though supposedly we are less regulated – that seems to apply mostly to business, individuals rub up against requirements, feel the most pain. There is a puritanical, upper-class view, which has conservative religion behind it, and that I think includes significant numbers of police official.

    The many who are mainly found in the lower income bracket, of all races, come under great scrutiny by police trying to prevent crime by surveillance which is resented and hatred is aroused. There is enthusiasm by agencies, not government departments as previously, to make regulations and demand compliance with unaffordable fines, the drugs controls are particularly aimed particularly at this group; government as spectator on the sideline, mostly out of the game. We need a caring, involved government not these avatars distancing themselves from the smelly human populace with many having no chance for a decent life with happiness and love. And that is why police feel the need for guns – to cope with the alienated.

    • If workers were to be back payed all the wages that were withheld from them after nearly 40 years of neo liberalism,… well, Id hate to estimate the cost of reimbursement.

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