[caption id="attachment_183" align="alignleft" width="150"] Selwyn Manning, editor.[/caption] Editorial by Selwyn Manning. Respected New Zealand Herald journalist Phil Taylor’s reportage this week has again raised concerns about poor Government transparency. I also spoke on the issues raised in Phil Taylor’s report, on Radio New Zealand’s The Panel with Jim Mora.
1) The Government spent $1 million on failing to defend itself after it apparently defamed journalist Jon Stephenson, after he exposed potential breaches of international law by New Zealand Defence personnel in Afghanistan.
2) The Government’s star witness, an Afghani security unit commander, refused to testify via video link from Afghanistan, but insisted he be brought to New Zealand.
3) Once here, the commander’s testimony was found to be untrue.
4) Despite this he was left to wander off around New Zealand without supervision.
5) He failed to take his return flight to Afghanistan, but has since claimed asylum and is seeking to stay here permanently.
Would there be an inquiry into whether or not the commander committed perjury, and whether the Defence Force was gamed?Gerry Brownlee answered “no”. Frankly, such a response fails to serve the public interest, and leaves one wondering: what has the Government got to hide. This is serious stuff. The public deserves to know:
1) What really happened up there in Afghanistan
2) Why the Government appears to be shying away from revealing the facts and context of this affair
3) Why it appears the NZ Defence Force permitted its Afghani commander witness to wander off without supervision, especially after he may have committed perjury
4) And ultimately, who is possibly culpable or entangled in what may have been a significant breach of international law during the time New Zealand Defence personnel were operational in Afghanistan.