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Army advice released by Minister

20 September 2001 Media Statement

Army advice released by Minister

Today in the House the Minister of Defence Mark Burton tabled a two-part document prepared by Communications Trumps, titled "Research Report and Strategy NZ Army" and "Communications Strategy for the NZ Army 1997/1998".

The communications and research advice was prepared over four years ago for the New Zealand Army. There is currently an investigation underway into whether a recent order was given to have a copy of the document shredded, and whether that order was legal.

"Communication Trumps has provided public relations advice to the New Zealand Army since 1990," Mark Burton said. "This document simply forms part of that advice.

"In 1997 Communication Trumps quite rightly identified that the Army was badly under-resourced, while maintaining an excellent reputation with the public and being a valuable part of the New Zealand community.

"References in the document to funding reflect the situation in the 1990's when all three services were forced to compete for resources. That was not desirable and is why this government is very much driving a joint force approach.

"However, read as a whole, the document is consistent with many other communication strategies, which are frequently produced for both the public and private sector.

"It is important to note the conclusion: "This strategy is based on the simple principle of understanding the needs of your key target audiences, providing them with the information they need and managing relationships with these people in a professional and acceptable fashion."

"Almost all departments, ministries and crown entities develop communications plans or strategies. Communications Trumps had been providing advice to the Army for over a decade and this document seems to have been a fairly standard document of its type," Mark Burton.


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