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Call For Burton To Come Clean On Manning’s Death

14 January 2002

Mark Calls For Burton To Come Clean On Manning’s Death

New Zealand First Defence Spokesman, Ron Mark MP, is calling for the complete public disclosure of the Court of Inquiry conducted into the Death of Private Leonard Manning.

Mr Mark’s comments are in regard to claims this month’s in North and South Magazine that not all the facts were considered and that the conclusion of the inquiry that Manning’s death ‘could not have been prevented’ are incorrect.

“Leonard Manning is a hero who was killed in the service of his country. To not uncover the facts surrounding his death would amount to a betrayal. For that reason it is an outrageous turn of events that there should such a cover-up of the facts and that the public and Members of Parliament should not be able to see the facts,” said Mr Mark.

“I fear that this case, like so many in defence, is showing signs of the ‘Dodson-doctrine’ whereby information which is potentially damaging to the reputations of the Minister and senior army officers is withheld and those who have a right and duty to know are treated with contempt and even obstructed from their duties.

“It is time the minister got a grip on his portfolio and started the year the way he means to finish it-- by getting control of his portfolio and initiating a formal inquiry into the handling of this whole affair. If he cannot do that then he should resign the job.

“Currently there are hundreds of New Zealand troops overseas who may find themselves in similar situations as Private Manning on any given day. If we do not know the facts then how can we prevent more kiwi soldiers coming home dead?

“There are rumours doing the rounds in Army messes and RSAs throughout the country that there has been a cover-up and there is a need to put those to rest. For the sake of closure, it is now vital that a full Commission of Inquiry be held into both Leonard Manning’s death and the operational procedures and doctrines of New Zealand troops in East Timor,” concluded Mr Mark.

ENDS

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