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War veteran graves desecrated

Hon Rick Barker
Minister of Veterans’ Affairs

27 August 2008 Media Statement

War veteran graves desecrated

Veterans’ Affairs Minister Rick Barker responded today to the news that over the weekend, approximately 45 bronze plaques were stolen from graves in the Services section of Otahuhu Cemetery, in Auckland.

“I am appalled that some people have no respect for our veterans and are such low- lifes that they would desecrate graves in this way,” Mr Barker said.

“These are the final resting places of those service men and women who bravely put themselves in harm’s way overseas for the freedom and lifestyle we (including the thieves) enjoy today”.

Otahuhu Cemetery staff have also expressed their shock and disbelief at the mentality of those who would damage graves in this way. 26 plaques in the public section were also taken.

The Police and local scrap metal dealers have been advised of the thefts.

Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand, which supplies the plaques, will replace them at no cost to the veterans’ families. Other plaques that were damaged will be repaired.

“Anyone with any knowledge of or connection to the thieves should contact the Police. They should turn them in so they can be bought to justice. This sort of vandalism and theft is totally unacceptable,” Mr Barker concluded.


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