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Minister of Defence prioritises Pandas over patriotism

Ron Mark MP
Spokesperson for Defence

30 September 2015

Minister of Defence prioritises Pandas over patriotism

The government should focus on repatriation of remains of Kiwi soldiers buried overseas instead of bringing pandas to New Zealand, says New Zealand First.

“It is utterly disrespectful that the Minister of Defence has travelled to China to hand deliver an expensive proposal to lease pandas, while he does nothing for the families of soldiers not buried in Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries,” says New Zealand First Defence Spokesperson Ron Mark.

“The million dollar cost to lease pandas is totally unjustified when 36 Kiwi personnel are either buried within a Malaysian military base, or in a civilian cemetery adjacent to a motorway.

“They paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country but as they were killed in the Malayan Emergency and the Vietnam War, cannot be interned within a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery.

“It is insulting to their memory and families, that this government won’t bring our boys home. Yet it is doubly insulting the Minister of Defence is prioritising pandas over patriotism. It’s not right.

“These pandas are just another ploy by the government to distract New Zealanders from its reaI agenda, of selling this country off to the highest Chinese bidder.

“The government needs to stop this disgraceful behaviour and start acting like a government, doing what’s best for this country and focusing on what’s important, and leasing panda’s aren’t,” says Mr Mark.

ENDS

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