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Slippery Minister refuses to confirm inquiry

Max Bradford National Defence Spokesperson

11 September 2001

Slippery Minister refuses to confirm inquiry

In a series of slippery answers in Parliament today the Minister of Defence refused to confirm that the proposed inquiry by the Judge Advocate-General would be an open hearing or would be able to subpoena evidence and people under oath, National's Defence spokesperson Max Bradford said today.

"Unless there is utter transparency in the inquiry process into the infamous Gordon document, the allegations of conspiracy within the Army to capture defence policy and defence funding will remain unproved.

"The more the Minister says the less we learn, and the more convinced many New Zealanders will be that this Government has something to hide.

"The Opposition reiterates, yet again, our demand for an open, independent and judicial Commission of Inquiry to get to the bottom of what are clearly unacceptable events within the New Zealand Defence Force.

"I cannot see why Mark Burton is playing fast and loose in refusing to have an independent process with subpoena and oath powers. After all, many of the events occurred during my time as Minister of Defence and I want to see a totally open process.

"My challenge to Mr Burton is this: 'what have you got to hide and why will you not agree to an independent Commission of Inquiry that can do the job properly?" Mr Bradford said.

Ends

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