Defence Minister says Inquiry to outline painful lessons
Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman
Minister of Defence
17 March 2013
Defence Minister says Inquiry likely to outline painful lessons
Defence Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman says the death of Private Michael Ross is a tragedy that must never be allowed to occur again.
The Court of Inquiry into the death of the soldier who drowned at Lake Moawhango during small boat training is examining all aspects of the incident.
“The Court of Inquiry isn’t completed. I’ll receive a copy of the report only after it has been before the Court’s Assembly Authority for comment and recommended actions,” said Dr Coleman.
“I’m aware of today’s media reports but it’s difficult to comment further until I receive the completed COI. I have previously told the NZDF that no stone must be left unturned in uncovering the facts around this tragedy, and to make whatever changes are needed to absolutely minimise the chances of such an event ever occurring again."
“Even though the Court of Inquiry has yet to be concluded I expect it will outline some painful lessons,” he said.
“Other processes are also underway and are yet to be completed. An independent Health and Safety investigation by MBIE is being conducted with a potential for prosecution. The police have provided a report for the Coroner for consideration. As well, the NZDF Military Police are conducting an investigation,” said Dr Coleman.
“The Chief of Defence Force assures me that health and safety performance is an organisational priority for the Defence Force, and it has been embarking on a series of improvements.”
“Once the COI is finally completed there will be a hard look at what those findings mean for strengthening health and safety systems in the Defence Force,” said Dr Coleman.