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Minister welcomes appointments

2 October 2001 Media Statement

Minister welcomes appointments


The Minister of Defence Mark Burton has welcomed the calibre of the people who will carry out the defence review and inquiry package.

Two Queens Counsel, a former State Services Commissioner and a former Secretary of Foreign Affairs have been appointed to inquire into accountabilities, operations and responsibilities within defence.

"We have very capable individuals in charge of a carefully considered package of measures. This includes the State Services Commissioner's inquiry with the equivalent powers but none of the disadvantages of a single Commission of Inquiry," Mark Burton said.

The Judge Advocate General has appointed Colin Carruthers QC to examine the propriety of two specific pieces of correspondence, a letter and an e-mail, generated within army and navy respectively. Mr Carruthers is to report by the end of October.

The State Services Commissioner Michael Wintringham has appointed Douglas White QC and a former Secretary of Foreign Affairs Graham Ansell to carry out a wider inquiry into standards of behaviour, allegations of leaking of documents and the inappropriate use of information and position by Defence Force personnel.

They are expected to report to the State Services Commissioner by late November.

The SSC inquiry will have all the relevant powers of a Commission of Inquiry, including the power to summon witnesses and hear evidence under oath.

"Both of these inquiries will pass any relevant findings on to an overarching review of accountabilities and structural arrangements that will be carried out by former State Services Commissioner Don Hunn," Mark Burton said.

"This review of the relationship between the Ministry of Defence, the New Zealand Defence Force, and the three service arms was signalled in the Government's Defence Policy Framework released in June 2000.

"Now that the arrangements for the two inquiries are in place, the terms of reference for the overarching review will be finalised between Mr Hunn and myself later this week. I expect an interim report from Mr Hunn by Christmas.

"This package makes it clear that this government is taking appropriate steps to address concerns which exist, and which in some cases have festered for many years.

"I expect that by years end we will have identified the issues that need to be addressed, and be well on the way to implementing measures to address them.

"This review, and the input from the inquiries, is an important part of ensuring that we have the most appropriate structures in place to build a professional, well equipped modern defence force," Mark Burton said.


ENDS

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