20 May 2013

Labour makes official request for findings on soldier's death

9:20 am on 20 May 2013

The Labour Party is continuing to fight to get a suppressed Court of Inquiry report into the suicide of a New Zealand soldier in Afghanistan made public.

Corporal Douglas Hughes, 26, served at Forward Patrol Base Romero in north-eastern Bamiyan province and died in April 2012.

Coroner Gordon Matenga suppressed details about the findings by the Court of Inquiry in February.

Labour Party defence spokesperson Phil Goff has written to the Ombudsman requesting the material on the death of Corporal Hughes be released under the Official Information Act.

Mr Goff told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme the findings show critical deficiencies in the training and deployment of New Zealand troops.

He says the Defence Minister has declined to release the report under the Official Information Act, yet this is the very information the Act is designed to cater for - where there should be a public debate and the Government should be held to account.

The family of Corporal Hughes want the material released to the public, and say the Solicitor-General is looking at their request for an independent inquest.