Wayne ‘Tipple’ Mapp went to Crete recently with veterans to commemorate our heroic defeat there in World War 2. Naturally, the old fellas who risked their lives and lost their mates 60 years ago got pride of place, like their Australian counterparts, eh? Nope. Mapp stayed in 26K of luxury while the vets had to fend for themselves.
Defence Minister Wayne Mapp spent more than $26,000 on flights and top hotels for himself and a secretary, in luxurious suites overlooking the Bay of Chania.
But New Zealand’s war heroes were forced to pay out of their own pockets, arrange their own itineraries and stay in modest accommodation, with just $2000 Government support – less than a return airfare.
Australian veterans were flown over by their Government and cared for by provided doctors. They stayed at the same upmarket lodgings as Australia’s defence and government officials…
… Australian documentary maker John Lewis, who accompanied his country’s veterans, said he could not believe the difference in treatment.
“I couldn’t actually believe what was happening. I don’t understand how they could get away with it.”
Mr Lewis said he had walked along the waterfront to find the New Zealand official party enjoying a lavish lunch on their own.
“There’s nothing wrong with going out and having a nice lunch, but meanwhile all the vets were being left on their own to be organised by their families,” he said.
“I thought the vets would have been the guests of honour. It was remarkably noticeable.”
The Australian party had arranged everything for its veterans and their families to attend, and at ceremonies Australian officials stood behind the old troops, he said.
“All the focus was clearly on the veterans. Meanwhile, it seemed like the New Zealand top brass and minister were sitting safely in their seats and the New Zealand veterans had to make do.”
Mapp is repentant, right? Not a bit of it:
Dr Mapp said yesterday that his travel had been made on the standard basis of ministerial trips, staying at the same accommodation he had in 2001.
“I ensured that the veterans who travelled to the 70th anniversary had access to a government grant of up to $2000 each.
“This grant was additional to the grant of $2000 that was given to veterans for travel to attend the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Crete,”