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Senior Army Officers Must Be Suspended

Media Release


December 27, 2001

Senior Army Officers Must Be Suspended
Immediately

“The government must now suspend all Army Officers who were involved in the systematic and deliberate destruction of boxes of important Defence documents”, said New Zealand First’s spokesman for Defence, Mr Ron Mark MP when speaking on today’s release, of the Inspector General’s report, on the Investigation into the shredding of Official Army Documents.


“This report seriously brings into question the integrity of certain Commissioned Army Officers and it is my view that these officers can no longer be trusted by parliament or the public of New Zealand, let alone the soldiers they are supposed to lead into battle.
It confirms my warnings to the Government in August, that large numbers of Official documents were being systematically shredded. We are now told that many of these documents were relevant to current defence inquiries and that they were destroyed because they might prove embarrassing should they be requested under the Official Information Act”, said Mr Mark.

“These acts by the small group of Army Officers involved are indicative of their contempt for Parliament and the audit responsibilities that MP’s are required to exercise on behalf of taxpaying New Zealanders”, he said.

“This report also shows that the government’s Defence policies, in particular the decision to disband the air combat capability, is now gravely in question”, Mr Mark said.

“The statements by witnesses that the ‘Reid papers’ and documents relating to the PR company Communications Trumps, were destroyed as a result of instructions given at the highest levels of our Army management are unprecedented. These documents I am certain would have disclosed the connection between certain Army Officers and the construction of Labour’s Defence policy.
The fact that the public will now never be able to scrutinise this evidence or current government policy against it, is an absolute perversion of the democratic process and the constitutional rights of all New Zealanders.

In any other self-respecting Western democracy these officers would now be subject to Court Martial proceedings. The question is, will that happen here in New Zealand and if not,….. why not?” Mr Mark concluded.

End.



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