National must put politics aside and investigate NZDF allegations

National must put politics aside and open an independent investigation into allegations around the conduct of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) in Afghanistan, the Green Party said today.

Nicky Hager and John Stephenson’s book ‘Hit and Run’, released last night, details the alleged killing of civilians in Afghanistan following a joint US-NZ raid, allegedly in retaliation for the death of a New Zealand solider.

“These allegations are very serious and New Zealanders deserve full and frank answers about what exactly happened over in Afghanistan,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“If there is nothing to hide, then there is nothing stopping Bill English from announcing a full, independent inquiry into these allegations today.

“So far, only Paula Bennett has been put forward to comment substantively on these allegations. That’s not good enough – the Prime Minister and defence officials should front up and answer the very serious questions that every New Zealander has the right to know the answers to.

“Full transparency from the Government is the only way we’re going to find out exactly what happened. Refusing to comment and refusing to investigate won’t make these allegations go away.

“Clearly there is some personal animosity towards the authors from the National party, but that should not affect their decision to take this information seriously and open an independent investigation.

“If the Government wants to uphold New Zealand’s values and our good reputation, we urgently need to know what happened,” said Mrs Turei.

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