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Burton says—“Stop the cheap politics, Mr Mark”

Burton says—“Stop the cheap politics, Mr Mark”

Defence Minister Mark Burton says tonight that Ron Mark’s sad attempt to garner publicity off the grief of a New Zealand family is sad and pathetic.

“Mr Mark did indeed write to me in 2002, regarding some concerns raised by the family of Grant Bain, a cadet who died at the Regular Force Cadet School in Waiouru in 1981.

“In particular, Mr Mark outlined the family’s distress at the use of Grant Bain’s photo in firearms safety training at Waiouru. Mr Mark also indicated that the Bain family had requested a copy of the report on the Court of Inquiry held after Grant Bain’s death, but were told they were not entitled.

“Finally, Mr Mark asked that the Chief of Army should ‘look into this issue and have an officer visit the family with the aim of satisfying their needs.’

“All of these are legitimate concerns, and all of them were addressed. An officer from Army met with and made available to the Bain family a copy of the court of inquiry Record Of Proceedings on 22 April 2002. The Chief of Army wrote to the Bain family and apologised for using the photo. In addition, he expressed to his commanding officers that he thought the use of the photo was inappropriate. It was subsequently withdrawn.

“Finally, a permanent point of contact in Army was established for the Bain family, to remain responsive to their needs. Every concern raised by Mr Mark had been, to the best of my knowledge, dealt with appropriately.

“I never heard from Mr Mark on the matter again.

“It is truly outrageous to see this man, who had the audacity to define the allegations being raised by former cadets at the Waiouru school as ‘no worse than boarding school,’ attempt to use the grief and frustration felt by the Bain family over the death of their son and brother to score petty political points.

“Literally hundreds of former cadets have come forward with serious allegations, some of which they have been living with for 35-40 years. This government will treat these allegations with the respect they deserve, including those of the Bain family.”

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