Govt. misleads NZ public over training Indonesians

Defence Minister Max Bradford is misleading the New Zealand public by saying four Indonesian army officers are here only to study “philosophy”, the Green Party said today.

“It’s virtually certain they are at Massey University studying Defence and Strategy Studies alongside New Zealand army officers,” said Green Party Defence spokesperson Keith Locke.

“Yet Mr Bradford is quoted in this morning’s New Zealand Herald as saying, ‘These guys are learning about philosophy – they are not studying how to kill people.’

“When the Defence Minister announced on September 10 that New Zealand was suspending military cooperation with Indonesia he said that these officers who were ‘studying postgraduate Master of Philosophy courses at Massey University will stay’.

“I don’t believe that means they were studying the subject of Philosophy. The Masters of Philosophy course is a post-graduate course offered to those who don’t have Masters of Arts pre-requisites. Several New Zealand Defence Force staff are at Massey studying for a Masters of Philosophy in Defence Studies.

“Presumably the four Indonesian officers are studying alongside them. It stretches the imagination to think we would fund the four officers here under the Defence Forces’s Mutual Assistance Programme for Indonesian officers, and then have them merely study ‘Philosophy’.

“Mr Bradford said on today’s Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report that the officers will be staying until next year.

“This is scandalous. New Zealand taxpayers must be horrified, after what the Indonesian army has done in East Timor, to find that their money is being spent training Indonesian officers in military strategy.

“These officers do not deserve to receive another cent of public money, or any further defence training.

“The Masters course in Defence and Strategic Studies at Massey University covers New Zealand’s Strategic Environment, Command Studies, Joint Services Campaign Planning, and Strategic Management,” said Mr Locke.