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Independent Defence Inquiry Now Essential

Shock Allegations: Independent Defence Inquiry Now Essential

National's Defence spokeperson Max Bradford today revealed shocking allegations of improper conduct by the New Zealand Army's most senior officer.

"On Friday, the head of the army, Major-General Dodson suspended or fired his deputy, Brigadier Lou Gardiner, for allegedly disobeying an order.

"Although there is a question-mark over the exact reason, the information we have is that the order concerned the disposal of certain documents.

"We understand that Brigadier Gardiner expressed concerns over the propriety if not the legality of the order. There was a terse, and witnessed, exchange between Major-General Dodson and Brigadier Gardiner, who reported his concerns to his superiors.

"He was re-assigned from his position as deputy head of the army, to the staff of the Chief of the Defence Force while the matter is investigated.

"These are the bare facts. We are not making any allegations but the implications are very serious. Media can check the facts with the Chief of the Defence Force, the Minister of Defence, and other senior army officers.

"The climate of suspicion in the army is now so bad that the Government has no choice but to get to the bottom of it.

"The Government has for weeks been resisting calls for an independent inquiry with full subpoena and oath taking powers. The Government has been dragging its heels and allowed this situation to fester.

"We can only come to the conclusion that the Government is indeed trying to protect some people or to hide something. It is now essential that a full independent inquiry is held before any more damage is done to our defence forces," Mr Bradford said.


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