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Defence UN housing rort not helped by whitewash

Wayne Mapp MP
National Party Defence Spokesman

21 August 2008

Defence UN housing rort not helped by whitewash

A report that absolves senior defence personnel from any blame over a rort that saw double-dipping into housing allowances shows no one appears to accept responsibility, says National’s Defence spokesman, Wayne Mapp.

“The Defence Force drummed Colonel Selwyn Heaton out after 38 years of distinguished service but the inquiry into the housing rort is nothing but a whitewash.

“Four officers have been censured, but senior officers who condoned the activity take no responsibility.”

The report says the NZDF Court of Inquiry considers that the allegations ‘are without foundation’ so why was Colonel Heaton made a scapegoat?

“Major General Rhys Jones stated on 1 July that the NZDF were ‘aware’ they were breaking the United Nations’ rules.

“How can this report exonerate NZDF when its own Commander of Joint Forces has publicly admitted that they were knowingly breaking the rules?

“Defence Minister Phil Goff is already facing questions over his knowledge of this rort, and this whitewash exacerbates the damage already done to New Zealand’s international reputation.

“The Minister must explain how much he knew, when he knew it, and whether this report is sufficient to restore public confidence in his management of the Defence Force.

“The NZDF cannot continue to brush this under the carpet.

“In order to move forward and to maintain the integrity of our Defence Force the Minister must ask the State Services Commission to investigate.”


ENDS

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