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Medals For Service In Solomons & Afghanistan

17 May 2002

Medals For Service In Solomon Islands And Afghanistan

Defence Minister Mark Burton today announced that the government has agreed to the award of the New Zealand General Service Medal (NZGSM) for service in the Solomon Islands and in Afghanistan.

"This announcement recognises the contribution New Zealanders are making towards peace in two very different environments," Mark Burton said.

"In the Solomons, we have been helping one of our fellow Pacific island neighbours restore their security situation and the democratic process. In Afghanistan, New Zealand is contributing to the international effort to combat terrorism and restore peace, in what is a very volatile and dangerous environment. "

In June 2001 there was a mini-coup in the Solomon Islands. New Zealand personnel from all three Services were initially deployed to evacuate foreign nationals. Subsequent to that, New Zealand has contributed to the International Peace Monitoring Team that was established to assist in a peace settlement. NZ Police and civilians have also been an integral part of this peace process.

New Zealand has contributed a number of personnel to international efforts in Afghanistan including the NZ SAS, an Air Loading Management Team and staff officers.

"The award of the NZGSM for these two missions will be the first made under a new procedure for operations commencing on or after 1 January 2000," Mark Burton said.

"The new NZGSM will be awarded with different ribbons for each operational mission. Previously the NZGSM was awarded with clasps denoting where an individual served.

"Service personnel, Police and New Zealand civilians are eligible for the award. "

The regulations determining the eligibility for personnel for these awards are being finalised and will need the approval of the Governor-General before the medal is issued.

Ends

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