So, a pre-planned trip to watch a son’s baseball and a week’s holiday in the States is more important than attending 2 soldiers’ funerals. But attending 3 soldiers’ funerals outranks attending the Pacific Island Forum attended by the region’s leaders. A question for the reader: how many Little League games beats a pull aside with Julia Gillard on boat people?
And, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out these very powerful and sad comments from one of the soldiers killed yesterday about Key’s decision to miss the funeral of the previous two soldiers killed:
One of the New Zealand soldiers killed in Afghanistan yesterday had slammed Prime Minister John Key just days before his death for not attending the funeral service of two slain soldiers.
Corporal Luke Tamatea, 31, and colleagues Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, 26, and Private Richard Harris, 21, died when their Humvee was hit by a bomb at 9.20am on Sunday (4.50pm NZT).
Less than two weeks before his death, Tamatea posted criticism of Key on Facebook over the Prime Minister’s decision not to attend the funeral service of Lance Corporals Pralli Durrer and Rory Malone, who died earlier this month.
The 26-year-olds, who were part of the same deployment as the latest soldiers to die, were killed by insurgents in Bamiyan Province on August 4 after a fierce three-minute gun fight.
Key was not in attendance at Malone’s and Durrer’s funeral on August 11 as he had a pre-arranged trip to the United States to watch his son Max play in the first New Zealand under-17 baseball team to ever play in the World Series.
Tamatea posted on his Facebook page on August 9: “If i was a leader of a country i would attend the funerals of our fallen soldiers….. i wouldnt be at a f****** baseball game!!”
He then commented on August 10: “Baseball….. i think i have a new sport i hate.”
The Prime Minister earlier said going to his son’s baseball game instead of attending the funeral service was a “difficult decision”.
“I’ve got to let somebody down, but my son makes huge sacrifices for me and my job,” Key said.
Key has said today that he will attend the funerals of the latest soldiers to die even if it clashes with Pacific Island Forum.