Allegations of misconduct at Waiouru Military Camp

By Tema Hemi

Senior military staff have stood down following allegations of inappropriate behavior while the military police carry out an investigation involving seven people in relation to Waiouru Military Camp's Army Depot Unit, which is responsible for new recruits.

Defence Minister Ron Marks is not holding back his disappointment.

Marks says, "It's damaging to the confidence of the mothers and fathers and the grandparents of the young men and women who they place in the care of the [New Zealand Defence Force], who they expect to enter into the Defence Force, into a career and have a lifetime of service and of course people who sign up for the Defence Force expect to be in danger but not this type of danger."

"I was only made aware only yesterday through a media inquiry to my office which prompted me to seek an explanation from the Defence Force," says Mark.

The allegations prompted an investigation into failure to follow procedure and inappropriate behavior, involving seven trainers relating to the Army Depot Unit who is responsible for new recruits.

Major General Peter Kelly says, "We had to make sure that the individual recruit, in one particular case, had the proper care and support package put around him and that was done but at the same time we've been very vigorous in dealing with these allegations and sending a clear message across the army and across the Defence Force that this won't be tolerated."

The army have been aware of the allegations since June last year.

"When those allegations are serious enough for the Defence Force themselves to have initiated their own investigative action, I should have been advised immediately," says Mark.

Major General Peter Kelly says this type of misconduct wont be tolerated. 

"We are a world class army with mana.  When things like this happen, of course it has an impact and this is what's very disapointing.  We as an army, we as a defence force have worked really hard over the last five years to address some of these cultural issues and it just goes to show you have to be vigilant."