Green MP Keith Locke says yesterday’s desertion conviction against Major Pedro van der Ent was a “public relations disaster” for the army.
“The army was stupid to waste all that time and money in trying a respected officer, when they could have negotiated his smooth exit from the armed forces.
“It was a hollow victory for the army brass. By appearing so unreasonable and old fashioned, the army would have put off many potential recruits.
“There is a different, more co-operative way of doing things in the 21st century. We have to treat soldiers like Major van der Ent, a man of 16 years of distinguished service, with much more humanity and respect.
“The trial also trivialised the charge of ‘desertion’, which should apply to much more serious matters,” said Mr Locke.
Keith Locke MP 04 4706710