15 Dec 2008

Former All Black to take up alcohol message

7:57 pm on 15 December 2008

The New Zealand Defence Force is using former All Black Norm Hewitt to educate soldiers about drinking responsibly.

Eight soldiers were sent home from East Timor in September for drinking while on duty. Six of them abandoned their patrol to go on a pub crawl.

They served time in military prison and their section commander was demoted.

The Defence Force says their behaviour was unacceptable.

It says it had already established a programme to tackle drinking attitudes.

Brigadier David Gawn says Hewitt, who was reported as having a problem with alcohol abuse in 1999, will speak to soldiers about drinking responsibly.