17 Feb 2013

Impact of budget cuts denied

5:52 am on 17 February 2013

The Minister of Defence says Budget cuts had no impact on an army contingent that lost five lives in Afghanistan, despite a leaked army report that says it was ill prepared.

The report leaked to the New Zealand Herald criticised the training given to the unit, known as Crib 20.

Five soldiers from the contingent died in two separate incidents in Bamyan province in August last year.

Labour defence spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says there was pressure to cut costs and attrition was at its highest when the unit was in pre-deployment training.

But Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman says suggesting funding was a factor is mischevious and incorrect.

He says the leaked report was one of 23 done on the pre-deployment training.