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Clark welcomes decision to raise troops' pay

Labour
2000 web siteLabour Leader Helen Clark today welcomed the decision to raise the daily allowance payments to New Zealand peace-keepers in East Timor.

"Overseas deployments of troops makes life tough both for the soldiers and for families left behind. The situation in East Timor, particularly for those troops in the border area, is extremely dangerous.

"A rise in the daily allowance goes some way to recognising those dangers and will be welcomed by the New Zealand personnel serving in East Timor and their families.

"There is an aspect of better late than never in today's announcement. New Zealand service personnel who recently served as peace-keepers in Bosnia, where the countryside was strewn with mines, must be asking why the allowances weren't raised then. Perhaps the obvious answer is that troops were not sent to Bosnia two months before the election.

"Media reports suggest that the daily allowance the government is likely to pay to New Zealand servicemen and women on active service may still only be roughly half what the Australian equivalent receives. Moreover, the base salary of the Australian soldier is tax exempt while on active service.

"In government Labour will examine the disparity which has developed between New Zealand and Australian conditions for servicemen and women," Helen Clark said.

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