Journalist Nicky Hager has launched a scathing attack on the Defence Force during a presentation to the Operation Burnham Inquiry, accusing it of not telling the full truth about its operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Inquiry, which is investigating allegations that six civilians were killed in Afghanistan during a New Zealand-led raid in 2010, and the military covered up what happened is holding a public hearing in Wellington today.
During his presentation Mr Hager spoke about the military and political context of events covered by the Inquiry, but said there was a gulf between what the New Zealand Defence Force does and what it chooses to tell the public and Parliament.
“NZDF seems to believe it is entitled to hide news that might not be welcomed by New Zealanders and to bend the facts whenever necessary to avoid criticism or scrutiny … not just mistakes made in war, but toxic foam used in bases, the scale of sexual abuse in the forces and much more.
“NZDF almost never admits mistakes until utterly forced to, and even then they will minimise and spin the news. Reputation trumps being up front.”