New Zealand First Mourns Death Of Soldier
22 January 2002
New Zealand First expresses regret over the passing of Lieutenant-General Tony Birks, who was a distinguished soldier, and Chief of Defence Force while New Zealand First was a coalition partner in Government.
“Lieutenant-General Tony Birks was a fine soldier who had the interests of his country and those under his command at heart. New Zealand First wishes to express our sympathy to the family of the Lieutenant-General,” said Ron Mark today.
“He was a fiercely patriotic New Zealander. This is shown by the fact that even after he retired, he continued to express his strong views on New Zealand’s direction of defence, knowing that he was going to attract intense criticism.
“New Zealand First respected his judgment. It was his extensive and prolonged operational experience that made his contribution to the defence debate valuable. He had a wealth of actual experience gained over an extended period and a realistic understanding of our real needs, our strengths and our operational attributes. He was highly respected by soldiers as a soldier’s officer and will be sorely missed.