Ex-Motor pool mechanic and now Defence Minister stupidly lax with medals

The ex-Motor pool mechanic and now Defence Minister, Ron Mark, has been made to look like a bit of a fool for wearing his medals incorrectly and in some cases without a permission.

In order to wear foreign medals you have to get permission. It appears Mark didn’t.

Defence minister Ron Mark has admitted wearing medals he did not have permission to wear.

He is now seeking permission to wear medals which have taken pride of place on his chest during the swearing in of Parliament and the commemorations for Armistice Day.

The concession comes after the Herald reported concern in the veterans’ community over Mark wearing medals earned in the service of Oman.

There was also frustration from veterans that the medals were being worn ahead of decorations earned in the service of New Zealand.

Mark said he would seek advice – and has now come back with a concession he got it wrong.

It is a breach of rules for a New Zealand citizen to wear medals from a foreign nation without the Queen’s permission, able to be granted by the Governor-General.

And it breaches NZ Defence Force rules for any foreign medals to be given precedence over those earned in the service of New Zealand.

A spokesman for Mark said: “The minister has spoken to officials and is seeking approval for the wearing of his Omani decorations.

“The application is being processed by the Cabinet Office. This can take several weeks.”

It was a blunder that proved embarrassing for Mark as he had worn the medals on a number of occasions since being appointed Minister of Defence.

He wore the medals when being sworn in as Defence Minister, and again at the opening of Parliament.

The medals were worn when he joined Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to address the RSA and then at a service for Armistice Day in Wellington.

At that event, he was present with Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy and Chief of the Defence Force Lieutenant General Tim Keating at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.

There are strict rules around the wearing of medals from a foreign country. Medals granted by a country where the Queen is not Head of State need the Governor-General’s permission.

The name and medal of those granted permission is listed on a special register held by the Cabinet Office.

We’ve busted Ron Mark before for his re-writing of his personal military history.

Whilst this isn’t a hanging offence it is disrespectful. This is not a case of Stolen Valour, or I’d be calling for his resignation. It is however embarrassing.

What is interesting though is that this appears to be a National party fuss that David Fisher has unwittingly created a story out of.

I have been contacted for a couple of weeks by National party connected people about this. One an ex-SAS member. I suspect that ex-SAS member is the same person who talked to David Fisher. They live in the same area up North.

I was also in touch with some National party members in Wellington for maiden speeches of various MPs. They said this story was the talk of Wellington, and it was only National party sources. Labour sources didn’t know anything about it.

I know who he is and he has been skiting on a website about this before this went down. Word to the wise, if you are the source of a story…don’t go blowing your own trumpet. Especially if you are talking to David Fisher. There is a good chance that the source will now become a story. Fisher has a habit of doing that.

This isn’t a hanging offence for Mark, but it is embarrassing.

 

-NZ Herald, David “Anal” Fisher

 

 


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