Offending on both sides of the Tasman

April 24th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A New Zealand journalist who called Australian World War I soldiers “bludgers”, “scavengers” and “thieves” says he has “nothing to apologise for” despite the backlash his comments have received.

Jock Anderson made the comments on Radio New Zealand’s The Panel last week.

“The Aussies have been reluctant soldiers at the best of times. They’ve been essentially lazy, bludgers, some of them, and excellent black marketeers, scavengers, poachers and thieves,” he said on the radio show.

“Occasionally they’ve actually been quite good soldiers, but there is no way, in my opinion, that they can hold a candle to the Kiwis.”

Jock is normally offending NZ judges and lawyers, so it makes a change for him to branch out internationally with his outrage causing.

I have great respect for all those who have served in combat, on both sides of the Tasman.

2010 ANZAC of the Year

April 6th, 2010 at 4:01 pm by David Farrar

The Royal New Zealand Returned Services Association has released:

The Prime Minister John Key announced today that Christchurch man Lieutenant Colonel (Lt Col) John Milbanke Masters ONZM MC JP has been awarded the inaugural ANZAC of the Year award.

The award was instituted by the Royal New Zealand Returned Services’ Association (RNZRSA) to recognise the ANZAC qualities of comradeship, compassion, courage and commitment.

Lt Col Masters was chosen from nominations received from throughout New Zealand.

RNZRSA National President Robin Klitscher said Lt Col Masters was an excellent choice as both his career in the Army and after were guided significantly by the traits the award sought to recognise.

“He is a decorated Army officer who served for 27 years. During that time he was awarded the Military Cross for rescuing a wounded Gurkha Warrant Officer under extremely difficult circumstances. He was also made a life member of the Gurkha Regimental Association’s Sirmoor Club – an honour normally restricted to Gurkhas.”

As well as seeing service in Borneo, Lt Col Masters served in Vietnam as the seventh battery commander of the New Zealand Artillery Battery, a position he still held when the Battery returned to New Zealand in May 1971.

After retiring from the Army in April 1983 Lt Col Masters held several senior management roles in business.

“But he retained his interest in the Army and its soldiers; indeed in all veterans,” Mr Klitscher said.

“He was heavily involved in Rannerdale War Veterans home and was instrumental in raising substantial funds to allow the home to stay open and to be upgraded.

“His personal testimony to the Health Select Committee was crucial to breaking open the facts of exposure to chemicals during service in Viet Nam, thus enabling follow-up investigation into the matter to take place on a firm footing. He was subsequently a Trustee of the Viet nam Veterans and their Families Trust; and has also been a panellist assisting with War Pension applications.”

In 2002 Lt Col Masters was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM).

The award is a bronze statuette based on the famous Gallipoli image “Man with the donkey” and designed by official New Zealand Army artist Matt Gauldie.

What an excellent award concept, and a very worthy inaugural winner – noth for his service in Borneo, but also for his concern for the welfare of his fellow veterans.

A summary of how he won his military cross in Borneo is here. An extract:

Eventually the CSM struggled to his feet and they slowly and quietly moved off, John carrying the wounded CSM for about an hour and a half in short spells of five or ten minutes, until he was quite exhausted. They stopped and lay down for a planned hour’s rest but after a while, the CSM reached out for a stick and pulled himself to his feet and announced that he would try and walk for himself. Considering the obvious pain he was in and the blood loss, it was an amazing show of strength and will. Mind you, the CSM was no fool as he knew that John obviously couldn’t carry him all the way back to the border. John decided to take no chances and lashed the compass to his wrist so that it couldn’t be lost in the mud or swamp as they stumbled along.

By now it was early afternoon and the CSM managed to keep going until some time after 1600. John walked ahead with his weapon ready and compass permanently in his hand; he had made a conscious decision not to deviate from that bearing come what may. They rested briefly and then, as the CSM was all but out on his feet, John carried him for about another two hours. However progress was slow as the CSM was now in great pain and John’s strength was starting to fail him.

It took 54 hours for him to get out, and then go back in to recover the CSM. The CSM subsequently went on to father three sons.

We should be proud of the service of Lt Colonel Masters.

The trans-Tasman relationship

August 21st, 2009 at 7:28 am by David Farrar

While I have reservations over aspects of the EU, I love the fact they have a common currency and almost no borders. Hence I am a fan of New Zealand and Australia removing as many barriers as possible.

I don’t see much merit in political union (unless both islands gained statehood giving us more grunt in the Senate) but am persuadable on a joint currency etc.

The possible revival of the ANZACs could be hugely popular, as ANZAC Day on both sides of the Tasman becomes more and more hallowed by the public. The Herald reports:

New Zealand and Australian defence chiefs will soon begin discussions on setting up a joint Anzac rapid-response force.

The shape, size and operations of the proposed force – disclosed by the Herald in May – have yet to be considered, but Prime Minister John Key and his Australian counterpart, Kevin Rudd, believe the close ties between the two defence forces should be formalised in a new transtasman unit.

Whether it is practical or not has to be worked through, bu the principle is exciting. It may also give opportunities for NZ soldiers to serve on missions they previously could not.

Colin Espiner also reports on the travel plans:

Trans-Tasman travel is about to get easier, but passport-free visits are unlikely.

Travellers between New Zealand and Australia will be able to use electronic passport control and bypass queues for baggage screening from the end of this year, under changes to New Zealand airport arrangements announced by Prime Minister John Key in Canberra yesterday.

Electronic-passport kiosks, called smart gates, will be installed at Auckland International Airport’s arrival hall in December and in Wellington and Christchurch from the middle of next year.

The kiosks will be available to departing passengers in Auckland from late next year and in Wellington and Christchurch by mid-2011.

They allow travellers aged over 18 with an electronic passport containing a biometric chip to be able to scan their own passports and use facial-biometric technology to identify themselves and go to departure gates without going through immigration control.

Most New Zealand and Australian passengers arriving in New Zealand will no longer automatically have their baggage screened under changes announced by the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry.

I like self service kiosks. Air New Zealand has done a brilliant job with its technology and the e-pass and m-pass. Queues are almost a thing of the past. If this can be extended to security checks, all the better.

Protecting ANZAC

March 30th, 2008 at 1:39 pm by David Farrar

The growing numbers for ANZAC Day, shows how important the ANZAC name is to people in both Australia and New Zealand. And it is a word protected by law from misuse.

It has been a protected name since the War Legislation Amendment Act 1916. Today it is protected under the Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981.

A furore recently erupted in Australia over an activist group promoting a some sort of direct action training weekend as a Activists, Newcomers and Zealots Action Camp.

The story on Indymedia has been deleted as it was also in breach of Australian law.

Hat Tip: Tim Blair