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National demands answers on NZDF decision

Murray McCully MP
National Party Foreign Affairs Spokesman

Dr Wayne Mapp MP National Party Defence Spokesman

1 July 2008

National demands answers on NZDF decision

National is demanding to know who is responsible for the New Zealand Defence Force’s decision to break UN rules on housing allowances.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Murray McCully and Defence spokesman Wayne Mapp called for “quick, simple answers, not the usual Labour Party white-wash.”

The MPs strongly criticised the decision by the NZDF to knowingly mislead the UN about top-up payments made to personnel seconded to the UN in New York.

“Since 2001, the NZDF has been systematically rorting the UN housing allowance rules. They have, in effect, ordered our soldiers to lie to the UN about the top-up payments they received from the NZDF,” say the MPs.

“That is obviously unacceptable conduct on the part of an agency of state, and one that will be damaging to New Zealand's international reputation. We now need to know who sanctioned this action, who knew of it, and when they knew of it.

“These are simple questions, and we want simple answers.

“It is clear that some of the most senior members of the NZDF are responsible.

“The fact that those officers appear to have victimised the senior officer who faced court martial yesterday in order to cover their own tracks is not only unacceptable - it is despicable.”

“National also wants to know about the accountability of Ministers in this issue.

“Contrary to answers given publicly by Defence Minister Phil Goff that Ministers were not informed, Mr Goff himself signed off answers to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee before 18 June providing a sanitised version of the dispute between the UN and NZDF over the allowances.

“This issue does not need a long official inquiry. These are military officers and Ministers of the Crown involved. We want answers about who sanctioned these actions, who knew, and when they knew.

“That will provide a basis for some accountability.”

ENDS

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