National | Afghanistan

Inspector-General of Defence to provide independent oversight of NZDF

Photo / File

An Inspector-General of Defence is to be established to provide independent oversight of the New Zealand Defence Force.

“The establishment comes as a result of concerns raised during the inquiry into the August 2010 Operation Burnham, in Afghanistan, and related matters," Attorney-General David Parker said on Friday.

In a joint statement with Defence Minister Peeni Henare, Parker said an inquiry found that the actions of NZSAS on the ground were professional and lawful, however, "there were significant shortcomings in the way NZDF subsequently dealt with allegations of civilian casualties, resulting in incorrect statements in briefings to ministers and in public statements."

Parker said NZDF’s failure to provide full, timely and accurate information to ministers undermined two fundamental principles of NZ's democracy – civilian control of the military and ministerial accountability to parliament.

Henare added that "the principle of Mana and Pono was vital for the NZDF."

"The trust and integrity that is so characteristic of our Defence Force is one of their most valuable assets."

He said the IGD will provide an independent path to examine any gaps in NZDF systems so steps can be taken to make any necessary improvements.

"They will be able to receive allegations of wrongdoing, investigate protected disclosures, and will be supported by strong statutory powers. Any person will be able to bring concerns about potential wrongdoing in, or by, the NZDF to the IGD’s attention who will have full discretion as to whether to investigate,” Henare said.


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