PM's Press Conference 03/04/17: PM adresses Hit and Run
PM's Press Conference 03/04/17
adresses Hit and Run allegations
In today’s press conference the Prime Minister addressed allegations brought forth by the book Hit and Run. He expressed confidence that the NZDF acted lawfully and that no further inquiry is necessary.
Many questions were asked about the classified video, which Prime Minister Bill English watched. He stated many times that he would not go into detail about the video, that he only watched the relevant parts of it, and that it proved what the Defence Force had previously stated. Mr English said that the video confirmed what NZ troops followed the rules of engagement and expressed admiration for their work to minimise civilian casualties and destruction of property. He also stated many times that the video is classified and will not be made unclassified.
A concern was raised by the gallery that there hasn’t been an opportunity for independent review and that the NZDF has essentially investigated itself. The Prime Minister insisted that the legal process is clear and that he trusts the process. He went on saying, the CDF was not involved in this operation, which makes it “independent.” Mr English mentioned that, if people come forward with further evidence, CDF is obliged by law to look into it.
The Prime Minister is confident that the nine people killed during the operation were insurgents (even though the identities of those killed are unknown), which was backed up by his review of classified documents. He insisted there is no evidence of any civilian deaths, but also said it is not certain.
Mr English expressed confidence that the public can be reassured by the facts put forth by the CDF, but was questioned why his opinion should be trusted.
In regards to the book itself the Prime Minister said, “the book’s allegations are wide-ranging and fundamentally flawed” and later went on to say it was “wildly inaccurate” but the allegations were serious. If any new evidence comes forth he does expect it will be shared.