Army asked to break ranks for brothers' compensation

9:15 pm on 29 May 2013

Senior soldiers have been urged to break ranks and demand more Crown compensation for two brothers badly injured when they were in the New Zealand Army.

Two Brigadiers have appeared before MPs on Wednesday to explain why Damien and George Nepata have never received money for life-changing training accidents about 20 years ago.

One sibling was left paralysed, while the other was badly burned.

The Defence Force says while it is sympathetic, it has to operate within legislation and cannot authorise ex-gratia payments.

But Maori Affairs Select Committee chairman Tau Henare says someone in the chain of command has to tell ministers that compensation must be paid.

An Assistant Chief of Defence Force, Howard Duffy, responded, saying the Army doesn't break ranks.

George Nepata is now a tetraplegic after falling from a stretcher during an exercise in Singapore in 1989.

Damien Nepata, who was burned when a tank overturned at Waiouru in 1994, says he is tired of hearing people tell him what they can't do - and he wants to hear what they can do.

Damien Nepata says Wednesday's meeting at Parliament has given him some hope of securing a settlement - but it's the third time he's attended similar select committees to seek compensation.