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Towards a metric for Prime Ministerial decision-making

Written By: - Date published: 10:37 am, August 21st, 2012 - 72 comments
Categories: afghanistan, Minister for Overseas Holidays - Tags:

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.


72 comments on “Towards a metric for Prime Ministerial decision-making”

  1. Dr Terry 1

    Oh yes, after the flak he received last time, he will attend hell or high water!! He cannot risk letting his popularity stakes slip. Who is responsible for sending soldiers to that corrupt country in order to risk their lives for America? I hardly need to tell you.

    • chris73 1.1

      Labour under the auspices of the UN and carried on by National

      • Kotahi Tāne Huna 1.1.1

        Earth to Chris – Labour are no longer the government. As explained here yesterday.

        • chris73

          Reality to Kotahi. Did you perhaps not read the part of the sentence that said “carried on by National”

          What part of what I wrote is incorrect?

          Did Labour first send the troops to Afghanistan: Yes
          Was it under the UN: Yes
          Has it been followed on by National: Yes
          Am I criticizing Labour for sending troops in the first place: No (I agree with the troops being there and I believe they shouldn’t be brought home early)

    • Tom Gould 1.2

      Why has no one taken issue with Key equating the “sacrifice” his boy has made for his career with the “sacrifice” of a fallen soldier in a war zone? Disgraceful.

      • Hami Shearlie 1.2.1

        Just what I’ve been thinking Tom. For Key to have the gall to mention the word “sacrifice” in connection with his own son is laughable and really sick. When others have lost their beloved children in Afghanistan FOREVER, it is outrageous and insulting for Key to claim that Max Key makes sacrifices!! Is this the same Max Key who lives in a mansion complete with huge pool, (and games room and media room no doubt), goes to a very expensive private school in NZ, and has several holidays in Hawaii every year? No-one I know could say something so unbelievably crass and unfeeling – not to mention STUPID!! Maybe Key is channelling Whaleoil these days!!!

    • Rupert the Beer 1.3

      What flak?

  2. Roy 2

    “…how many Little League games beats a pull aside with Julia Gillard on boat people?”
    Hard to say. It’s a dinnamic situation, doncha know.

  3. chris73 3


    R.D wrote:

    As a former NZ infantry soldier and having deployed to Afghanistan I believe I can comment on this thread. This year alone I have lost 4 friends in Afghanistan, having served closely with 3 of them, most recently Corporal Tamatea. As sad as the situation is the consensus among all my mates still serving is that the last thing they want is to be withdrawn from theatre. As far as they’re concerned they have a job to do and a duty to uphold which they haven’t fulfilled. To them, 2013 is to soon to come out.

    All this talk about John Key having no respect? He went to the homes of my friends(Durrer and Malone) and offered his personal condolences then, remember he also has a family and an obligation to them.

    Ask anybody serving now and they’ll tell you that’s how they feel.

    On backing Labour because they would prefer that our troops were withdrawn sooner rather than later. We were sent in by labour in the first place, I served in Afghanistan under a Labour government.

    In summary, as soldiers they know the risks of deploying to such environments as Afghanistan, they know there is a chance they could pay the ultimate price. As a former infantryman I know that Luke would be happy that he died doing what he loved to do- soldiering. He was an excellent operator, with exceptional “soldier skills”. Today there are a lot of heavy hearts in the NZDF because of this tragedy. Mourn for them and their families, and pray that nothing else happens to the rest of our brave men and women serving there but know that they would all rather be there making a difference than here. All my currently serving friends want to deploy to do there part(some again).

    This is what others feel as well.

    • Tiger Mountain 3.1

      Sadly deceased Corporal Luke seems to make his views about Key pretty clear here.

      ShonKey usually doesn’t like to “rule it in, or rule it out” but he seems to be able to with soldiers funerals, kids baseball and Pacific Forums.

    • prism 3.2

      The ability of soldiers to carry on is determined by their determination to stick to the mission and not question it. In the World Wars people who lost their ability to carry on fighting were severely dealt with. I wonder what would happen now?

      It is hard for an individual to have a flash of alternative thinking, such as what the hell is this about/for? Any withdrawal from the plan means he/she is letting down comrades who rely on each other. So they mourn losses and carry on. That’s their job and theirs not to reason why, theirs just to do or die. They have trained for it and believe that they are making a useful contribution. The intentions and actions can be very noble. I just hope that we can bring back all left stay alive and in at least reasonable health, and return soon for good.

      A speaker on radionz this morning said that we shouldn’t be taking on patrolling outside our location. I think he first considered this dangerous with too much risk ratio to return, and that we would not be able to achieve anything worthwhile, and that it wouldn’t make our own location safer to pursue further away, and that the area was near enough to the border for men and weapons to be able to retaliate against any strikes made further away. That’s how I heard it anyway.

    • Murray Olsen 3.3

      I somehow doubt that the TV3 News piece was actually written by an infantry soldier. It has the style and sentimentality of someone working in PR all over it.

    • prism 3.4

      chris 73
      Who is RD? A relative, friend? Where did you see the piece?

  4. vto 4

    Could this be the defining moment for Mr Useless?

  5. Richard 5

    This sort of post is why no one has any respect for this site. Disgusting.

    • deano 5.1

      Key did decide that watccing a children’s baseball game was more important than soldiers’ funerals.

      Now, he’s decided that soldiers’ funderals are more important than a major international conference.

      It’s valid to point out the inconsistency.

    • Bored 5.2

      And who, Richard is this no one?

    • tc 5.3

      Speak for yourself Richard and exercise your democratic right to stay away if it offends you so much.

    • Kotahi Tāne Huna 5.4

      An authoritarian lemming. Repugnant.

    • Te Reo Putake 5.5

      The thousands of daily page views and hundreds of daily comments disagree with you, Richard. Could I recommend you try YourNZ instead? That’s a site dedicated to dissecting everything that is wrong with the Standard; you’ll feel right at home there.
      And now, a word from Woody Allen:
      “There’s an old joke – two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of them says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.”
      The other one says, “Yeah, I know; and such small portions.”

      • weka 5.5.1

        Hey, PG is good for something after all!

        • Te Reo Putake

          Yeah, gotta feel sorry for Pete. Since his banning he’s been fixated with TS and hardly has room to post on anything else. Sadly, since Pete started playing the race card on the site a few weeks ago, the rather thin comments section is now dominated by the happy go lucky racist John Ansell, who must sense a kindred spirit in PG.

          • chris73

            Poor form slagging someone whos not allowed to defend themselves.

            • lprent

              He isn’t exactly constrained about being able to defend himself – he has his own blog site, and any number of other ones that he can use.

              He just can’t respond it here because he wastes moderators valuable and voluntary time. We expect people to learn from their previous errors, just like you did (I seem to remember giving you a few warnings and a single ban long ago). He didn’t.

              I’m afraid that I have a low toleration in having to repeat myself. Doing it to the same person too frequently as they try to explore the boundaries of the permissible reeks far too much of hand-holding to me. I’m afraid that I don’t like acting as judge delineating the bounds of the law and social behaviour..

              I’d do it for a child, but not for an purported adult.

              I have been letting through the trackbacks to his whine posts in case people want to voluntarily subject themselves to a ‘debate’. Of course it causes problems with having an interactive debate if people don’t go there. But he is rather fond of not listening much anyway.

            • Te Reo Putake

              Er, he’s got an option for that, Chris. It’s called YourNZ (see comments above). And he still has a wee cry on the sewer from time to time.
              It’s hardly my fault that Pete can’t post here, is it? If he hadn’t got his well deserved ban, we’d still be plagued with his inanities from sunrise to sunset. Now we just have to settle for teasing his intellectual inferiors, such as your good self.

            • felix

              Fuck Pete George, he had a couple of years commenting here in which he could have decided to conduct himself honestly and he failed miserably to do so at every turn.

              Fuck him and the Tory Horse he rode in on.

    • Colonial Viper 5.6

      This sort of post is why no one has any respect for this site. Disgusting.

      I always laugh at how easily people like Richard are “disgusted”. And the BS reasons they come up with for it.

      Instead of say something real…like the leader of a country ignoring his duty to those who have paid NZ the ultimate service.

    • prism 5.7

      Thanks Richard. Your comment is important to us.

    • David H 5.8

      Horseshit I have immense respect for the authors and participants on this site.. Trolls and eejuts well…

    • fisiani 5.9

      People pop on to this site to see if if it can possibly sink any lower. Using such sad events to attack John Key, The Prime Minister of New Zealand hits yet another low.
      I think of The Standard as merely the Limbo Blog of the Left.
      Posters actually believe that the lower they go they win……
      I keep waiting for some genuine posts on improving life in New Zealand.
      The economy has been steered off the rocks, the brighter future beckons.
      We have the best PM and Finance Minister in at least 50 years.

  6. Glg 6

    Three dead soldiers (and one of them a woman, as the press feels it needs to remind us) outranks one live (also a woman) Aussie PM. Since there was time to attend previous funerals and his sons games, I can only assume either he couldn’t be buggered changing his plane tickets (and considering his love of good PR one might think this unlikely) or, as someone tweeted, perhaps he had scheduled some overseas meetings with his American overlords as well. I bet John boy got a bit of a spanking over the Kim Dotcom issue, perhaps he was taking advance orders for our asset sales.
    Don’t worry, maybe he will make up for it by squeezing out a tear this time.

  7. Anne 7

    how many Little League games beats a pull aside with Julia Gillard on boat people?

    I suspect the real reason he didn’t change his schedule and attend the memorial service is because he had a pre-arranged pull aside prior to the start of the baseball tournament concerning his future ‘career’ post prime-minister of NZ.

  8. bad12 8

    My advice to anyone serving in Afghanistan would be to neither post criticism of any of those ‘in command’ or details of any of what happens on the ground in Afghanistan on the internet,

    In war the truth goes out the window first, there is at least 2 good reasons with reference to historical events that have me proffering such advice…

    • RedBlooded 8.1

      A very good point, because also Paula “Basher” Bennett will be sent to “leak” all your personal details over the media.

      • bad12 8.1.1

        Aha, there are 2 wars currently being waged in Afghanistan, the first being the ‘straight’ war where there is an enemy, the Taliban, to be defeated in the name of democracy,apple pie, big Mac’s, coca cola and all things that glitter as if made of gold,

        The second, the Opium war, is an ongoing struggle between the multi-factions involved in the international trade in Heroin,

        The combatants in the second war may also be involved on either side of the first conflict, sometimes being involved on behalf of both sides at the same time, just as ‘for political reasons’ US ground troops have found themselves guarding Opium crops on behalf of the growers who are in turn providing both intelligence and active military support to the US in other areas of the conflict,

        There are then also the ‘regional conflicts’ to have to consider, where part of the International force interacts with the local population from province to province in totally differing models of engagement,

        In such a conflict, an armed contingent such as say the Kiwi’s may seem to have got involved in an effort to back up the armed police of the regime as they attempted to ‘arrest’ a bomb-maker, as the current fairy-tale would have us all believe, (as if bomb-makers take up residence in the local suburb putting out their shingle of business and thus inviting arrest),

        In reality tho, the regime police are just as likely to have been attempting to ‘arrest’ the head of a contingent of local smugglers for not having paid their ‘tick’ bill having been supplied the product, (Heroin),and duly smuggled this into Pakistan while not paying the supplier and thus New Zealand troops may have been caught up in the second part of the Afghan conflict as opposed to the first,

        It is obvious from the nature of the conflict in Afghanistan that ‘the locals’ are fully aware of the nuances of commitment of the various international forces operating within their differing tribal areas and seem to have been treating the New Zealand contingent appropriately up to this point as being in place for the first reason, that of the defeat of the Taliban and the installation of democracy, big macs and stuff,

        Which brings us to the recent use of the roadside bombs,(i use the word bombs as there appears to have been 2 of them), the obvious assumption is that angered by the New Zealand intervention in what ‘the locals’ see as none of their business and the casualties ‘these locals’ have suffered as a result of this intervention revenge has been extracted via the use of the 2 roadside devices,(a common tool as 10,000 or so of them are set each year in Afghanistan),

        That’s the ‘logical explanation’ but in war logic like the truth goes out the window as fast as the bath water along with the baby in the next explosive drone strike ordered and watched by the Prez thousands of kilometers away, and if i wish to slip for a moment into such insanity where there is little logic less truth and honor is something bandied about by TV commentators we may assume that, and i only go here with the advice that our Prime Minister ‘shut His f**king mouth’, that the bomb that killed the 3 Kiwi soldiers was made and sourced in the neighbouring Baghlan Province and although there is nothing to suggest this, (except the insanity of war), may have been an actual answer to an implication made by out very own Prime Minister about others serving in that theatre,

        Yes, i am the first to agree,that the above is way past a little far fetched, but then, how far fetched is it to have Kiwi soldiers serving in a conflict which upon the surface has some stated aim of democratization as the intended out-come while all around them a different war centered upon control of the Global Heroin trade is being waged and while the Kiwi’s might know in what war they are engaged telling just who is engaged in what war is impossible…

        • bad12

          And as a PS:, i am lead back to my original comment about those who have or are serving at present in Afghanistan, where my advice is to say as little as possible about events on the ground and about those who direct such warfare right up to the office of Prime Minister,

          There are the reported ‘facebook’ comments, and then there are stories told within my own family where both uncles,fathers and grandfathers served in various conflicts, there is an underlying commentary where those who died ‘could have’ been so proscribed by those in powerful positions from the level of Battalion right on down to the company they served and even to the individual,

          That’s a bold assertion made without ‘factual’ basis except for the discourse in our family of those who served in previous wars and feel free to slag me off for making it…

  9. gobsmacked 9

    I don’t have a problem with Key going to watch his son play baseball in the USA. As has been pointed out numerous times, he could have done that AND gone to the memorial service. But he didn’t.

    I do have a problem with Key using the word “huge sacrifices”, to describe his son’s life. That’s an appalling choice of words. Going to King’s College isn’t a “huge sacrifice”. Dying is.

    And I have a big problem with anyone (like Richard) who fakes “disgust” when this is pointed out.

    • Murray Olsen 9.1

      When I was at school, gobsmacked, and we played rugby against King’s College, there were often “huge sacrifices” on their side. Of course, this was back in the days before the “elite” schools offered academic scholarships to giant sized South Aucklanders who just happened to play rugby.

  10. tracey 11

    maybe but dont under estimate the problems young men with absentee fathers go through. his son hasnt made the sacrifices his fathers choices have .

  11. Populuxe1 12

    For the record I think Key should have attended the funerals, but I think it’s bullshit to attack someone in the public eye for being a good father, and now that I know he went to the families and gave his personal condolences I am perfectly satisfied Key’s duty was discharged. Key has made many peripheral fubars around these events – more silly than evil – by all means continue to cover yourselves in ordure, but it really doesn’t look pretty.

    • Tracey 12.1

      Actually he seemed to be admitting to being a bad father… Mr key used his fatherhood as an excuse to avoid funerals he had previously been “happy” to attend, with press gallery in tow. He is the leader of the nation first and a parent second. IF he wanted it another way, he stood for the wrong position.

  12. Anne 13

    ….I think it’s bullshit to attack someone in the public eye for being a good father,

    Nobody is attacking him for being a good father. What they are attacking him for is:

    the timeline between the memorial service and his son’s first game (three days) meant he could easily have attended both.

    He saw the families because he hoped to avoid criticism by doing so… not because he particularly wanted to see them. It’s pretty obvious he had a pre-arranged appointment ahead of his son’s game which didn’t have anything to do with the running of the country. So he embarked upon a load of tripe about his son’s supposed “sacrifices” as an excuse for not being at the service.

    • Sid Holland 13.1

      What an [sid – don’t start your first comment here with nasty personal abuse, thanks. r0b] you really are Anne. What makes you say he didn’t particularly want to see the families?

      • Anne 13.1.1

        Your problem Sid Holland if you can’t face the truth. I never said John Key did not feel sympathy for the families, but it doesn’t exonerate him one iota from making the call that he did. He had to visit the families for political reasons.

        Your pseudonym would seem appropriate.

        It was the former NZ prime minister, Sid Holland who tried to break the spirit of ordinary working people in 1951. The blood ran in the streets! He used the state apparatus to injure and destroy all those who stood up to him. He was a bully. Interesting that all the prime ministerial bullies we have had the misfortune to endure in this country have been from the National Party.

  13. terryg 14

    I dont seem to recall Afghanistan launching a war of aggression against NZ. Which IMO gives us no mandate whatsoever to be there.

    In which case I am unable to care on bit about the deaths of nz soldiers there.

    Did these fools not read their employment contracts?

    Unless defending ones country against wars of aggression, soldiers are part of the problem – these are people who decide to get paid to kill when ordered to, without asking why.

    [last comment deleted – way over the top. r0b]

    • Sid Holland 14.1

      So I can’t call Anne mean spirited about her comment but Terry’s one about [deleted] is entirely reasonable?

      [You called Anne much more than that. But you are correct that Terry’s last comment went way too far. r0b]

      • felix 14.1.1

        I agree Sid, terryg’s last sentence is pretty poor taste (at best).

        However, I can’t fault the reasoning of the rest of his/her comment. Can you?

        Why are we waging war on Afghanistan? When did we decide to be an aggressor?

        • Sid Holland

          I’m not convinced we are waging war on Afghanistan, Felix. It’s predominantly a peacekeeping force but I wouldn’t expect them to turn the other cheek when attacked. I don’t recall Nazi Germany launching a war of aggression against NZ, or the Boers, North Koreans and North Vietnamese but our soldiers went there as well – as an Allied partner. While the Green Party defence policy probably consists of growing a large hedge, in the real world you have to pull your weight and we can be justifiably proud of the actons of our men and women in overseas conflicts – both in combat and peacekeeping. Never forget kiwi’s are targets for terrorism; be it on the battlefield or a tropical island resort.
          Terry is right though – joining the army is not remotely similar to Volunteer Service Abroad and our soldiers accept that there are risks in being deployed.

          • felix

            “I don’t recall N@zi Germany launching a war of aggression against NZ.”

            Sorry, I’m not quite following your mental leap there. Are you saying Afghanistan has declared war on one of our allies?

            And if so, who?

            • Populuxe1

              I’m sorry – did you miss the bit where Al-Qaida flew two passenger jets into the WTC etc etc, declared war on the west, and then went and hid with the Taliban in dum-dum-DUM Afgahnistan?
              Of course, you might be a Truther…

              • mike e

                Popuganda So GW bush used a sledge hammer to crack a walnut and look how its turned out.
                Shoot first and ask questions later, watching to many old westerns.
                Why not just volunteer for service in afghanistan their are plenty of soldiers of fortune their already nothing stopping you.
                Blindly following like a sheep.

              • felix

                Oh yeah I remember now, it was all about catching a guy in a cave in Afghanistan. Bin Liner or something.

                Guess once they catch him it’ll all be over and we can pull out.

                Of Afghanistan.

          • fatty

            ‘Peacekeeping’ is nothing more than code for a neo-colonial pawn. NZ soldiers are just in another phase of combat and we use the term peacekeeping to make ourselves feel better. Rebuilding bridges and hospitals is a key part of modern day war…we build them so the Afghan leaders will side with the USA and resources can be secured.

            • Populuxe1

              Ooooooooh Imperialism! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!
              Peace is not, as it turns out, the natural default state of humankind – it’s just a highly desirable one.
              Tellingly, however, widescale peace has only ever been brought about by imperialism as easily demonstrated by Pax Romana and various other examples. It might not fit your fantasy of rainbow-pooping unicorns, but it’s the pragmatic fact

              • fatty

                Populuxe1…is that a response to my post @4.47, or did you put it in the wrong place?
                I’m unsure of what point you are challenging, and what point you are trying to make

                • Populuxe1

                  No fatty – it’s the right place. I’m mocking your assumption that peace just ‘happens’. Peace inevitably has to be enforced by one means of imperialism or another. You say “neo-colonial pawn” and wring your hands, I say “strategic defence relationship” and think of the big picture.

                  • fatty

                    “I’m mocking your assumption that peace just ‘happens’.”
                    Now I see why I was confused….you are mocking an assumption that I never made.

                    “You say “neo-colonial pawn” and wring your hands”
                    I also don’t remember wringing my hands.

                    “Peace inevitably has to be enforced by one means of imperialism or another”
                    This is your only sentence that is remotely coherent, and its only saved by the last 2 words.

                    Have you been drinking? Knocked you head or something?

            • McFlock

              ya gotta admit that “we had to build infrastructure and heal the sick in order to take the country” as a few light-years on from “we had to destroy the village in order to save it”.

              • fatty

                no, I consider them the same, but you worded the first one nicely by forgetting to mention that destruction comes first.
                they are both destroy, then rebuild

                • McFlock

                  Um – Afghanistan was already bust. Soviet invasion and civil wars will do that.

                  • fatty

                    What do you mean “Afghanistan was already bust”?

                    The US bombed the hell out of the place. Just cause their schools didn’t have a science wing, or a computer lab, it doesn’t mean its OK to destroy it, and then put up something ‘better’.
                    People’s identity’s were tied to those places, regardless of what occurred in past invasions, and regardless of how ‘limited’ their schools, towns etc may seem to us. Their place, their home, their life, and their identity is worth no less or more than ours. I don’t think we can justify bombing a place cause we rebuild it ‘better’?
                    (if that’s what you were implying)

    • terryg 14.2

      censorious asshat. I stand by that comment. unless defending ones country against a war of aggression (should it occur I’d volunteer in a heartbeat), soldiers are a menace – they are, after all, nothing more than hired killers (in exactly the same way that police are hired thugs).

      It can be a tragedy for a member of the military to die – eg the NZRAF folks who died in the helicopter crash last year. It is NOT a tragedy for military personnel to die in combat operations – it quite literally is part of the job. And when there is no justification for the military presence (if you think its justified i’d suggest you study geopolitics a bit harder, we’re really only there to suck up to the US), I fail to see how it can possibly be considered a “bad thing”.

      I’m not surprised at the rah-rah nationalism though, given that this country exalts grown men who play childrens games. morons.

      [lprent: Avoid attacking the moderators or authors of posts personally. I consider it to be a symptom of futile terminal stupidity to attack someone on their own site. Just disagree with authors and say why. Disagreeing with moderators is of course just idiotic. And read the policy – especially those about self-martyrdom offenses.

      Btw: I believe that we were requested to act in Afghanistan by the UN. What limited role that we took in Iraq by the EME’s was also requested by the UN. Ditto Timor. Perhaps you should look up from your geopolitics for long enough to look at the actual politics. ]

      • Populuxe1 14.2.1

        It’s a tragedy when anyone dies, dickhead. Even you.

      • terryg 14.2.2

        thats better than censorious asshattery. I reiterate: there is nothing whatsoever wrong with dead soldiers. Yes its tragic for their families, but what do they expect? hugs from irritated afghanis? here’s a helpful hint: if you dont want being killed to be part of your job description, dont join the military.

        • Populuxe1

          Well I can hardly better you in censorious asshattery, because you are clearly my superior in that regard. Defence forces do considerably more than killing people – the NZ Forces in particular prefer to avoid killing people unnecessarily, and of course would be protecting vicious skid marks like you in the event this country was attacked. Our army in particular has long been responsible for reconstruction and aid work in the Pacific and elsewhere.

  14. Anne 15

    I was present at the RNZAF Base Whenuapai at the time of the Bola storm which almost wiped out Hawkes Bay – 1987 I think. I witnessed the planes carrying equipment and soldiers going to and fro 24hrs a day for weeks on end. My admiration and respect for the military rose accordingly.

    Yes, they do far more than killing people.

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    3 days ago
  • Coleman plays down the plight of junior doctors
    Junior doctors are crucial to our health services and the industrial action that continues tomorrow shows how desperately the Government has underfunded health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Jonathan Coleman’s claim that he has not seen objective evidence of ...
    4 days ago
  • Inflation piles pressure on National and Reserve Bank
    While many households will welcome the low inflation figures announced today, they highlight serious questions for both the National government and the Reserve Bank, Labour’s  Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson said.  "While low inflation will be welcomed by many, the ...
    4 days ago
  • Officials warned Nat’s $1b infrastructure fund ineffective and rushed
    Treasury papers show the Government rushed out an infrastructure announcement officials told them risked making no significant difference to housing supply, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Like so much of National’s housing policy, this was another poll-driven PR initiative ...
    4 days ago
  • More cops needed to tackle P
    New Police statistics obtained in Written Questions show John Key is losing his War on P, highlighting the need for more Police, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “New Zealanders expect serious action on P but today’s hodgepodge of half-measures won’t ...
    5 days ago
  • MBIE docs show country needs KiwiBuild, not Key’s pretend “building boom”
    John Key’s spin that New Zealand is in a building boom does not change the massive shortfall in building construction as new MBIE papers reveal, says Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We can fix the housing crisis, by the ...
    5 days ago
  • 1 in 7 Akl houses now going to big property speculators
    Speculators are running riot in the Auckland housing market making life tougher for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  Newly released data from Core Logic shows a 40 per cent increase in the share of house sales ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour mourns passing of Helen Kelly
    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    1 week ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    1 week ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    1 week ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    1 week ago
  • Working people carrying the can for the Government
    Today’s announcement of a Government operating surplus is the result of the hard work of many Kiwi businesses and workers, who will be asking themselves if they are receiving their fair share of growth in the economy, Grant Robertson Labour ...
    1 week ago
  • Breast cancer drugs should be available
    Labour supports the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition’s campaign for better access to cancer treatments as more patients are denied what is freely available in Australia, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “In the last three years, PHARMAC’s funding has been ...
    1 week ago
  • Community law centres get much needed support from banks
      New Zealand’s network of community law centres, who operate out of more than 140 locations across the country, have today received a much needed boost, says Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.  “After more than 8 years of static funding ...
    1 week ago
  • Just 18 affordable homes in Auckland SHAs – It’s time for KiwiBuild
    New data revealing just 18 affordable homes have been built and sold to first home buyers in Auckland’s Special Housing Areas show National’s flagship housing policy has failed and Labour’s comprehensive housing plan is needed, says Leader of the Opposition ...
    1 week ago
  • Pasifika wins big in Auckland elections
    The Labour Party’s Pacific Candidates who stood for local elections in Auckland came out on top with 14 winners, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio. “Our candidates have won seats on one ward, four local boards, two ...
    1 week ago
  • Seven7 hikoi to stop sexual violence
    1 week ago
  • Road toll passes 2013 total
    The road toll for the year to date has already passed the total for the whole of 2013, raising serious questions about the Government’s underfunding of road safety, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “According to the Ministry of Transport, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay principals slam charter school decision
    A letter from Hawke’s Bay principals to the Education Minister slams the lack of consultation over the establishment of a charter school in the region and seriously calls into question the decision making going on under Hekia Parata’s watch, says ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government needs to act on voter turnout crisis
    With fewer than 40 per cent of eligible voters having their say in the 2016 local elections, the Government must get serious and come up with a plan to increase voter turnout, says Labour’s Local Government Spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Inquiry presents solutions to homelessness – Govt must act
    Labour, the Green Party and the Māori Party are calling on the Government to immediately adopt the 20 recommendations set out in today's Ending Homelessness in New Zealand report. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A good night for Labour’s local government candidates
    It has been a good night for Labour in the local government elections. In Wellington, Justin Lester became the first Labour mayor for 30 years, leading a council where three out of four Labour candidates were elected. Both of Labour’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More contenders for fight clubs
    Allegations of fight clubs spreading to other Serco-run prisons must be properly investigated says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister runs for cover on job losses
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell’s refusal to show leadership and provide assurances over the future of the Māori Land Court is disappointing, given he is spearheading contentious Maori land reforms which will impact on the functions of the Court, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwisaver contribution holiday not the break workers were looking for
    The number of working New Zealanders needing to stop Kiwisaver payments is another sign that many people are not seeing benefit from growth in the economy, says Grant Robertson Labour’s Finance spokesperson. "There has been an increase of 14 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fight Club failings
    The Corrections Minister must take full responsibility for the widespread management failings within Mt Eden prison, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rethink welcomed
    The Labour Party is pleased that Craig Foss is reconsidering the return of New Zealand soldiers buried in Malaysia, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “For the families of those who lie there, this will a welcome move. The ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Disappointment over UN vote
    Helen Clark showed her characteristic drive and determination in her campaign to be UN Secretary General, and most New Zealanders will be disappointed she hasn't been selected, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. "Helen Clark has been an ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori need answers on Land Court job losses
    Māori landowners, Māori employees and Treaty partners need answers after a Ministry of Justice consultation document has revealed dozens of roles will be disestablished at the Māori Land Court, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Key’s ‘efficiencies’ = DHBs’ pain
          John Key’s talk of ‘efficiencies’ ignores the fact the Government is chronically underfunding health to the tune of $1.7 billion, says Labour’s Acting Health spokesperson Dr David Clark.       ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More than 1,300 schools to face budget cuts
    The latest Ministry of Education figures reveal thousands of schools will face cuts to funding under National’s new operations grant funding model, says Labour's Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speculation fever spreads around country
    House prices in Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga are going off as a result of uncontrolled property speculation spilling over from the Auckland market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Speculators who have been priced out of Auckland are now fanning ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand lags on aid targets
      The National Government needs to live up to its commitments and allocate 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on development assistance, says Labour’s spokesperson on Pacific Climate Change Su’a William Sio.  “The second State of the Environment Report ...
    3 weeks ago
  • War on drugs needs more troops
    The Minister of Police must urgently address the number of officers investigating illegal drugs if she is serious about making a dent in the meth trade, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “Answers from written questions from the Minister show ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Doctors strike symptom of health cuts
    The notice of strike action issued by the junior doctors today is the result of years of National’s cuts to the health system, says Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government starves RNZ into selling Auckland asset
    Just weeks after TVNZ opened its refurbished Auckland head office costing more than $60 million, RNZ (Radio New Zealand) has been forced to put its Auckland office on the market to keep itself afloat, says Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government must be more than a bystander on the economy
    Despite what he might think John Key is not a political commentator, but actually a leader in a Government who needs to take responsibility for the conditions that mean a rise in interest rates, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “John ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Māori Party all hui no-doey on housing
    The Māori Party should stop tinkering and start fixing tragic Māori housing statistics in the face of a national housing crisis, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesman Kelvin Davis. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour committed to eliminating child poverty
    Labour accepts the challenge from Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft to cut child poverty and calls on the Prime Minister to do the same, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    3 weeks ago