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Talk About it Next Monday? Not Good Enough Max!

Media Release
October 6, 1999

Talk About it Next Monday? Not Good Enough Max!

New Zealand First Defence Spokesperson, and former soldier, Ron Mark, wants the Defence Minister Max Bradford to give more urgency to deciding the new pay allowances for New Zealand’s troops in East Timor.

Cabinet will discuss increasing soldiers’ allowances next Monday, despite the fact that New Zealand troops have been committed to east Timor for nearly a month.

“Why is progress so slow? Everyone in New Zealand has known for years that our armed forces are the “Cinderella” of the defence and peace-keeping community, so why is there so much foot dragging hand wringing?

“The Minister can hardly say that this problem has suddenly appeared. The pay for our troops has been eroding for many years, and is so bad that our troops in East Timor are paid a third of what our ANZAC partners are getting—and then our soldiers pay income tax on top of that!

“In April this year I questioned the Minister about the poor wages being paid to our servicemen and women, and expressed my concern at the numbers who were receiving benefits from Income Support.

“Why has the Minister done nothing until now? Why did it take East Timor to embarrass him into action?” concluded Mr Mark.

ENDS

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