This is Gerry Brownlee; he is our current Minister of Defence.
IT’S THE showpiece event on the New Zealand defence force calendar.
Each year the New Zealand Defence Force Industry Association hosts a special forum which brings together people from here and overseas who are involved in matters of defence and national security.
It’s an opportunity for networking and to lobby the Government and defence agencies about issues of concern to its membership.
However, that can prove somewhat difficult when no one from the Government bothers to attend.
In a response to a request under the Official Information Act, Secretary of Defence Helen Quilter confirmed that Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee did not attend the two-day conference in November last year. Read more »
Gerry Brownlee is chuffed – our troops helped to train the Iraqi soldiers who took Ramadi off Daesh.
Iraqi troops trained by New Zealand soldiers were among those who took the city of Ramadi from Islamic State, Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says.
Victory in Ramadi, which was seized by IS in May, is the first major triumph for Iraq’s mainly US-trained army since it collapsed in the face of an assault by the hardline Sunni militants 18 months ago.
The city, 130km west of Baghdad, was taken earlier this week.
“The success of these troops results from their commitment to the training programme they have been involved in. New Zealand and Australian trainers can take some pride over the successful action by the recruits,” Mr Brownlee said on Thursday. Read more »
Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee believes Australia and New Zealand are “adequately prepared” for potential terror threats.
Mr Brownlee hosted his Australian counterpart, Senator Marise Payne, in Christchurch yesterday in their first formal meeting with Islamic State on the agenda.
He says he’s comfortable with the level of protection the region has, but can’t be completely sure a major terror event couldn’t happen in New Zealand.
“The last thing you want is to have a threat of someone who is a complete nut job, as these people are, doing something and causing everyone else to have huge disruption in their life. That’s giving in to the whole purpose of terrorism,” Mr Brownlee says. Read more »
Australian Labor leader Bill Shorten has been forced to apologise after he was caught on camera using his phone while driving.
The opposition leader was filmed using his phone while driving at 40kmh on Melbourne’s Kings Way in a white 4WD.
The video was taken on August 23 but has only just been made public.
Shorten apologised for the indiscretion on Thursday night.
“Like most drivers, I always try to do the right thing,” he said.
“But there’s no doubt that using your phone while driving is the wrong thing to do. There’s no excuse for it. I shouldn’t have done it and won’t do it again.” …
The government is reviewing troop deployments in Iraq.
Cabinet is reportedly reviewing New Zealand’s role in the fight against Islamic State.
Seven months after the Government’s decision to deploy 143 New Zealand troops to Iraq, New Zealand’s impact on the global fight against IS is being analysed, according to TheNew Zealand Herald.
The review comes two months earlier than was stipulated.
Minister Gerry Brownlee told the newspaper that the Government will take into account factors such as the Iraqi Government progress and the “broader counter-ISIL campaign”.
He confirmed that were no chance the current two-year mission would go beyond training Iraqi forces.
“We have a commitment to Iraq at the moment around training and that is all we have as commitment,” Brownlee said.
However, he would not comment on the potential for additional missions and whether New Zealand forced could engage IS in direct combat. Read more »
The Media Party are pushing for Jacinda Ardern to be deputy leader of the Labour party.
It really is a push with little or no merit, and yesterday’s performance in the house suggests that Ardern is not yet ready.
The National Party ministers and backbench had a feast as Ardern asked dopey questions about pies.
During parliamentary question time, Green Party MP Kevin Hague asked Health Minister Jonathan Coleman why the plan did not include a sugary drinks tax.
But Dr Coleman said again that there was not enough evidence to justify a tax.
“I know the member would love to tax all sorts of things… All I know is that if we have a Labour-Greens government, the price of everything is going to go up – it won’t be just soft drinks.” Read more »
The Chief Ombudsman has slammed the Prime Minister for delay tactics of releasing official information.
Dame Beverley Wakem says she intends to introduce a new set of standards covering Official Information Act (OIA) releases, as part of a major review.
Thomas Jefferson once said “information is the currency of democracy”, but it’s not always easy to get information.
Prime Minister John Key has previously admitted his office uses delaying tactics in releasing official information. Dame Beverley told The Nation that’s unacceptable.
“There’s a disregard for the law,” she says.
Information can be accessed from the Government and its agencies under the OIA. They must respond within 20 working days, but several examples have shown that is not always the case.
Emails released in book Dirty Politics showed blogger Cameron Slater was given preferential treatment for released information. Read more »
Eh? We now have Wellington City Council back peddling like mad saying they want nothing to do with the panda unless it is completely funded by John Key. Well, you and me, really.
Wellington’s mayor says no ratepayer money has been spent on a business case to bring a panda to Wellinton Zoo.
Prime Minister John Key is a big supporter of the panda plan and has pledged taxpayer money, but one local councillor who is opposed believes the project could cost up to $100 million.
It was reported last month that Wellington City Council would look at a business case for bringing the animals from China to Wellington Zoo. Read more »
KEEPING DEFENCE Minister Gerry Brownlee safe from enemy fire has come at a weighty cost to the taxpayer.
A day after Whaleoil confirmed Brownlee had been caught out telling a big fat lie over a cancelled trip to the Papakura Army military base, we can now reveal the custom-made body armour the Minister wore during a secret 48-hour visit to Taji, near Baghdad cost three times more than standard issue armour.
The custom body armour was made with input from specialist tailors who spent some considerable time with Brownlee measuring him up for the custom vest in his office.
Brownlee’s coy about his weight, but it’s likely he tips the scales at well over 150 kilograms.
A New Zealand Defence Force spokesman confirmed in a response to questions under the Official Information Act the body armour the Minister wore during his June visit to Taji was not the standard sizing available to New Zealand Defence Force personnel.
The spokesman wouldn’t confirm the cost of Brownlee’s body armour due to commercial concerns, but said it was three times more expensive than body armour outlets supplied to usual personnel.
However, it was made adjustable and would be made available for use by others who required non-standard sizing. Read more »