15 May 2017

PM watched 'more than half' of SAS raid footage

1:11 pm on 15 May 2017

Prime Minister Bill English has confirmed he has viewed more than half the available footage of a controversial 2010 SAS raid in Afghanistan.

Bill English speaks at a press conference after meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Bill English (file photo) Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Pasons-King

Investigative journalists Jon Stephenson and Nicky Hager released a book, Hit & Run, in March claiming six civilians were killed instead of insurgents in the raid.

It also claimed homes were destroyed, wounded people were not treated and a prisoner was mistreated.

Mr English decided last month not to hold an inquiry into the operation. The book's authors argued he was joining a seven-year cover-up by doing so.

In a written reply to questions from Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei, Mr English said he was briefed by the Chief of the Defence Force on the raid on 3 April.

He said the meeting was scheduled for an hour, but his office did not note down its exact end time.

Mr English said he viewed more than half of available recorded footage showing the relevant parts of the operation.

He would not say how long the recording was, however.

He said there were seven Defence Force personnel at the meeting as well as the Minister of Defence.

Staff from the minister's office, the Prime Minister's office and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet were also present, he said.