16 Feb 2013

Defence Minister rejects claims of poor training

9:23 pm on 16 February 2013

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman says soldiers sent to Afghanistan last year were ready for the job despite an army evaluator suggesting otherwise.

Five soldiers from the same contingent, Crib 20, died in two separate incidents in Bamyan province last August.

They were Lance Corporals Rory Malone, Pralli Durrer and Jacinda Baker, Corporal Luke Tamatea and Private Richard Harris.

The New Zealand Herald on Saturday carried a leaked army report it said strongly criticises the training given to members of the unit and the attitudes of some personnel.

Mr Coleman said the report is only one of 23 made by army evaluators and mentors during pre-deployment training.

He says it identified some areas that needed work.

"The NZDF worked on those areas, both in New Zealand and then in theatre, and by the time that rotation took over from its predecessors, they were fully up to speed."

The Defence Force says it was the first time that the author of the comments had observed pre-deployment training.