Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

NZDF helps Afghanistan polling process

21 October 2004

NZDF helps Afghanistan polling process

New Zealand Defence Force personnel in Afghanistan have been commended for their role in facilitating a successful turnout of voters in Bamyan during the recent presidential elections.

The 94-strong team of New Zealanders turned out in force in the days before the election to reassure local residents they could vote freely and in safety.

Based in Bamyan, the NZDF Provincial Reconstruction Team (NZPRT) was “very well received” by the locals, according to the US department of State representative in the area, Ms Carmela Conroy. She said the PRT provided a reassuring presence, and the patrols, which canvassed most of the province, were appreciated by the local population.

The election results are to be formally announced on October 28. If no single candidate gets more than 50 percent of the votes outright there will be a run-off election between the top two candidates. The presidential inauguration is planned for the end of November, but the parliamentary process however remains unchanged until April next year. The provincial and parliamentary elections are to be held then, and the results of those elections will determine members of parliament and provincial governors.

The NZPRT’s senior national officer, Colonel Mick Alexander, said there was a high voter turnout in the Bamyan area, “despite waking up to a four and a half inch drop of snow.”

“The locals saw the snow as good luck for the elections – the first that have been held for more than 30 years– describing it as a “blessing from Allah”. Many people in the central highlands had to travel substantial distances by foot or on donkey, with some walking up to three hours to vote,” he said.

Voters in the southern district of Panjaw-Waras in Bamyan turned up to polling stations as early as 3am to vote. The New Zealanders provided a security presence in the province to allow the elections to be conducted without interference. Local police, many of whom were recruited a week before the elections were trained by the PRT top ensure they could also help provide security during the elections.

In the weeks leading up to the elections the NZPRT conducted an information campaign to encourage people to vote and have their say in Afghanistan’s future. Locals were urged to contact the NZPRT is they knew of anyone who planned to disrupt the elections.

On election day, said Colonel Alexander, the NZ PRT provided shadow escorts for the movement of votes, and also provided security in the areas surrounding the polling and counting centres.

“We usually have four patrols out at any one time, but prior to the election we had seven patrols helping primarily with election security. Our support and logistic staff made up the extra patrols. I’m sure their success is largely due to the pre-deployment training they received before they left New Zealand, which included security tasking, weapon handling and convoy procedures.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The New Pike River Agency (And The Air Strike Wing)

Much of the sympathy the public still feels for the families of the Pike River miners has been sustained by the sense that the previous government – let alone the mining company and the processes of receivership and litigation – has never dealt honestly, or fairly, with them.

Finally, yesterday’s announcement by the Ardern government that a new state agency will be set up to assess and plan the manned re-entry to the mine (on a set timetable) goes a long way to meeting the families’ remaining request: that they be enabled, if at all possible, to bury their loved ones. More>>

 

Not Going Swimmingly: Contractor Cut, New Dates For Christchurch Sports Centre

“As an incoming Minister, I have been conducting a thorough review of progress on the Anchor projects and to learn of a $75 million budget blowout on this project was very disappointing..." More>>

ALSO:

Tertiary: Allowances, Loan Living Costs To Get Boost

“From 1 January, student allowance base rates and the maximum amount students can borrow for living costs will rise by a net $50 a week,” says Education Minister Chris Hipkins... further adjusted from 1 April 2018 in line with any increase in the CPI. More>>

ALSO:

Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>

Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>

ALSO:

Parental Leave: National's Time-Sharing Change Fails

National has proposed a change to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill that would allow both parents to take paid parental leave at the same time, if that is what suits them best. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election