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Defence report doesn't go far enough

Max Bradford
National Defence Spokesperson

14 May 2002

Defence report doesn't go far enough

Today's Carruthers Report into the defence force does not go far enough in removing the dysfunctionality it found in the forces, National Defence Spokesperson Max Bradford said today.

"It was never going to be able to given the way the Government set up the inquiry. Without evidence being taken under oath, public hearings, and a brief that was aimed at getting to the bottom of the problems, Mr Carruthers could only do what he did.

"The report rightly finds that the army was undermining the other defence forces for a period spanning the office of two Ministers of Defence. These conclusions are correct but it is a pity that there are no strong recommendations that will ensure the dysfunctionality is stamped out.

"Some heads have rolled as a result of last year's reports into problems within the defence forces. Some people have escaped censure and legal action when they should have been dealt with. They were very lucky under the circumstances.

"The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Marshal Ferguson, has drawn many of the right conclusions from the report, and rightly severely criticized the lack of leadership in the Army at the time of these events.

"The question is whether anything will be done to root out the "dysfunctionality" identified by the Auditor-General last year by the new team at NZDF. I am cautiously confident it will be, but the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee will need to revisit the issue in six months to see what is done.

"Today's report, and those earlier released on the defence forces, are the result of National, joined by other opposition parties, persistently questioning the Government over what we believed was a conspiracy within the Army which was affecting the resourcing of all defence forces.

"The Government disregarded our queries for some months. It is satisfying now to know we were right about the conspiracy and to have made a difference in the way the defence force is now structured," Mr Bradford said.


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