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Minister acknowledges Private Ross Court of Inquiry release

25 July 2013

Media Statement

Defence Minister acknowledges Private Ross Court of Inquiry release

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman acknowledges the NZDF’s guilty plea on a Health and Safety charge and the release of the Court of Inquiry into the death of Private Michael Ross.

“This was an absolute tragedy and my thoughts are with the Ross family as they continue to mourn Michael. I know today’s guilty plea will be little consolation for their devastating loss,” says Dr Coleman.

“The Defence Force has apologised to the Ross family, and it takes full responsibility for the safety failings that led to his death.”

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has today published the Court of Inquiry findings into the death of Private Ross.

“I welcome the release of the Court of Inquiry’s findings which found that the death of Private Ross was accidental but could have been prevented,” Dr Coleman says.

"A number of measures are being taken by the NZDF to prevent this type of accident from happening again. The NZDF is also taking steps to address wider issues of health and safety across the Defence Force.

“Questions raised around the culture of health and safety in the NZDF must be addressed. It is important that our people operate in an environment where the appropriate safety procedures are followed.

“For that reason, I have asked the NZDF to commission an external review of health and safety. It will report back in a few weeks and it will inform the wider programme of work on health and safety which is being undertaken by the NZDF.

“The Chief of Defence Force has assured me that health and safety is a top priority. I expect the Defence Force to take every possible step to prevent accidents like this from occurring.”


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