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Ministerial Inquiry Would Be A Whitewash

A ministerial inquiry into the infamous army document written by Lieutenant Colonel Ian Gordon and the alleged conspiracy within the army since 1997 would be a whitewash, Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley and National Defence spokesperson Max Bradford said today.

There have been reports the Government is considering a ministerial inquiry.

"A ministerial inquiry does not have the power to subpoena witnesses or evidence or to hear evidence under oath. That is simply not acceptable as it won't expose the full facts," Mrs Shipley said.

"Today I have written to the Prime Minister to urge her to direct the Minister of Defence to set up a Commission of Inquiry so that we can get to the bottom of whether the normal processes of Government regarding defence were subverted.

Mr Bradford has also written to the Minister of Defence today. "I have written to the Minister to reinforce Mrs Shipley's comments and offer my assistance to a properly constituted Commission of Inquiry.

"A ministerial inquiry would simply be not good enough is there is no guarantee that evidence we know would be available under oath, and with the legal protection of a Commission of Inquiry, would be sought or presented.

"National supports the other two investigations being talked about. We understand they are essentially disciplinary mechanisms available within the New Zealand Defence Force. It is important all these investigations are dealt with quickly so that morale in all three services, and the army in particular, can be restored.

"It has taken the Minister almost two months to acknowledge that an inquiry is necessary. Any further feet dragging by the Government won't be acceptable to National or the New Zealand public," Mr Bradford said.


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