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Defence Inquiry, Genuine Delay Or Another Cover-Up

9 April 2002

Defence Inquiry - Genuine Delay Or Another Cover-Up?

If the outcome of the Carruthers Inquiry drags on much longer, it can only be concluded that the Defence Force or the Government are engaged in an insidious cover-up, says National's Defence spokesperson, Max Bradford.

"This inquiry is running nearly six months behind time and the delay is fast becoming a serious public issue.

"While I can appreciate that the Chief of Defence Force, Air Marshal Bruce Ferguson is wishing to do a thorough job, the length of the delay is alarming.

"National doesn't want to see any decision emanating from this report and its public release threatening the 90-day period that the Defence Force has to take appropriate action against anyone found to have committed a breach of military discipline. Nor does it want to see any unnecessary delayed action which might otherwise compromise the integrity of the Defence Force.

"However, there seems little doubt now that the Government would have been far better to have undertaken a formal Commission of Inquiry when matters of concern were first raised by the Opposition and the Auditor General in late 2000 and early 2001.

"The latest I've heard is that the release of the report is now two weeks away. That is more than enough time to deal with the issues and National will vigorously oppose any further delays," says Mr Bradford.

Ends

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