National u-turns

National seem to working through a few u-turns as election year progresses.

Bringing soldiers’ remains back to New Zealand was announced on Monday:  Military personnel remains to be brought home

The families of New Zealand military personnel, and their dependants, buried overseas between 1955 and 1971 in Singapore and Malaysia will be offered the opportunity to repatriate their loved ones.

Veterans’ Affairs Minister David Bennett says this decision comes as a result of recommendations by the Veterans’ Advisory Board and the advocacy of the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association and families affected, and has thanked them for their important contributions.

“Following the efforts by families to have their loved ones brought home, the Government last year asked the Veterans’ Advisory Board to look into New Zealand’s repatriation policy. The Board identified a number of inconsistencies, and the Government has listened.

“New Zealand had an inconsistent policy of repatriation between 1955 and 1971. Families could opt to meet repatriation costs themselves, but not all could afford to do so. Other civil servants were also repatriated. We want to restore fairness for those families affected.”

Mr Bennett says the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) will also look at extending the offer to the families of New Zealanders interred as a result of a military burial between 1955 and 1971 in American Samoa, Australia, Fiji, Korea, and the United Kingdom, and all countries involved have been contacted.

The NZDF will oversee the repatriation process, including consultation with the families, and the planning and subsequent return of any bodies.

“The decision on whether or not to bring the bodies home will be the families’ to make,” Mr Bennett says.

“If they choose not to repatriate, the graves will continue to be cared for under current agreements. We will support the families through this process.”

And today Government u-turn on country of origin labelling

The National Party will support a Green MPs bill requiring country of origin labelling on single ingredient food such as fruit and meat in a u-turn Prime Minister Bill English said was due to consumer preferences.

Steffan Browning’s Consumers’ Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Bill will have its first reading in Parliament soon and is set to go to select committee after National agreed to support it.

It will require mandatory country of origin labelling for fresh single ingredient foods such as meat, fruit, vegetables and nuts as well as oils and flour.

That was a shift from National’s original decision to oppose it. English said there had been “quite a bit of discussion” in National’s caucus about it.

“It’s just reflecting pretty strong consumer preferences.”

And it probably reflects the desire of national to get back into Government.

English said National would decide after the select committee process whether to continue to support it into law. About 80 per cent of single ingredient foods were already labelled with the country of origin. “It is about whether it is feasible or desirable to require the rest of them to label.”

He said the initial decision to oppose it was because National was always sceptical about new regulation, especially if it felt most people’s needs were being met by the current regulation. There was also some concern about whether it would impact on trade agreements.

Browning said it was “fantastic news” for consumers if it went ahead and could help boost sales of New Zealand produce and meat.

I think that we should be accurately informed about country of origin of foods available for purchase.

The Standard even lower

The Standard has been the target of much criticism lately, some of it justified. Unfortunately this morning has started despicably.

Three of the first four comments Open Mic choose extreme disrespect to the latest casualties in Afghanistan by trying to score nasty political points.

‘Sanctuary’ leads the disgrace (he comments on a number of blogs). And others jump on the bashwagon.

Open mike 20/08/2012

Written By: – Date published: 6:00 am, August 20th, 2012 – 7 comments
Categories: open mike – Tags:

Open mike is your post. For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

Sanctuary 1

Another week, three more pointless fatal casualties amongst our soldiers in Afghanistan. Let’s hope their funerals don’t clash with John Key’s parent-teacher day at Kings.

EDIT: a moderator comment has now been added:

IrishBill: The politics of out presence in Afghanistan needs to be discussed but not as thoughtlessly as this. Cool your heels or you’ll get a week off.

  • LynW 1.1

    A heartbreaking waste of life.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/asia/7507715/Three-Kiwi-soldiers-killed-in-bomb-attack

    At the weekend, former Labour leader Phil Goff said more combat deaths in Afghanistan were futile.

    “Sometimes you do things that involve sacrifice, but the sacrifice has to be worthwhile,” Goff said.

    “To me, further sacrifices aren’t going to bring better outcomes for Afghanistan. I’ve been to every funeral for those killed in action and they are terribly sad and your heart goes out to the families. But can I look them in the eye and say your son died because it was critical for us to be in Afghanistan? I don’t believe I can.”

    New Zealand’s Afghanistan deployment over the past five years has cost $185 million, with $32m budgeted this year.

  • CnrJoe 1.2

    Bronaghs got a dressage competition coming up in Hawaii?

  • Nick 1.3

    Maybe Key can demand his son, and his sons Kings class mates to join up and go to Afghanistan. Can just see the weaned on pickle Kings parents faces.

    • rosy 1.3.1

      +1 If a war is worth fighting then it’s worth risking your own kids, not just other people’s children… (yes, I know we don’t have conscription, it’d be worth asking Key the question though)

This is not The Standard’s vioice (it doesn’t have one), it is individual commenters. The Standard community (including those who run and moderate the site) will either support or oppose these comments, thus determining how the blog in general is viewed.

At the moment it looks disgraceful and extremeley direspectful of the soldiers who have died and their families.

UPDATE:

The Standard has since put up a respectful post:

Three more Kiwi deaths in Afghanistan

Written By: – Date published: 7:36 am, August 20th, 2012 – 3 comments
Categories: uncategorized – Tags:

The media is reporting that three more Kiwi soldiers have been killed in a bomb attack in Afghanistan.

Our hearts go out to their family and friends.

3 comments on “Three more Kiwi deaths in Afghanistan”

  1. Carol 1

    My condolences.

  2. Craig Glen Eden 2

    Yup Carol very sad, sincere condolences to the families while their sons, husbands ,fathers may sign up for this the families don’t.

  3. IrishBill 3

    My condolences also.