3 Jun 2013

Call for Defence chief to release report

8:15 pm on 3 June 2013

The Labour Party is calling on the Chief of the Defence Force to release the findings of a military court of inquiry into a battle in which two New Zealand soldiers died.

Lieutenant-General Rhys Jones is denying a media report that New Zealand soldiers shot unarmed Afghan prisoners in the battle in Bamyan province in August 2011 and that there were deaths from friendly fire.

The fighting claimed the lives of Lance Corporals Rory Malone and Pralli Durrer and injured six other New Zealand soldiers.

Four of the Afghan intelligence officers the patrol was going to the aid of were killed and 10 Afghan soldiers were injured.

Lieutenant-General Jones says the findings of the court of inquiry are expected in a matter of weeks.

But Labour's defence spokesperson Phil Goff says a court of inquiry into the death of Corporal Douglas Hughes in Bamyan province which found his unit was unprepared was suppressed by the Defence Force.

Mr Goff is hoping the same thing doesn't happen again and says the Army's good reputation is at stake.