December 27, 2001
Senior Army Officers Must Be Suspended
“The government must now suspend all Army Officers who were involved in the systematic and deliberate destruction of
boxes of important Defence documents”, said New Zealand First’s spokesman for Defence, Mr Ron Mark MP when speaking on
today’s release, of the Inspector General’s report, on the Investigation into the shredding of Official Army Documents.
“This report seriously brings into question the integrity of certain Commissioned Army Officers and it is my view that
these officers can no longer be trusted by parliament or the public of New Zealand, let alone the soldiers they are
supposed to lead into battle.
It confirms my warnings to the Government in August, that large numbers of Official documents were being systematically
shredded. We are now told that many of these documents were relevant to current defence inquiries and that they were
destroyed because they might prove embarrassing should they be requested under the Official Information Act”, said Mr
“These acts by the small group of Army Officers involved are indicative of their contempt for Parliament and the audit
responsibilities that MP’s are required to exercise on behalf of taxpaying New Zealanders”, he said.
“This report also shows that the government’s Defence policies, in particular the decision to disband the air combat
capability, is now gravely in question”, Mr Mark said.
“The statements by witnesses that the ‘Reid papers’ and documents relating to the PR company Communications Trumps, were
destroyed as a result of instructions given at the highest levels of our Army management are unprecedented. These
documents I am certain would have disclosed the connection between certain Army Officers and the construction of
Labour’s Defence policy.
The fact that the public will now never be able to scrutinise this evidence or current government policy against it, is
an absolute perversion of the democratic process and the constitutional rights of all New Zealanders.
In any other self-respecting Western democracy these officers would now be subject to Court Martial proceedings. The
question is, will that happen here in New Zealand and if not,….. why not?” Mr Mark concluded.