Stuff submitted the following request on Friday 15 February 2019:
We are running a story on the fact the defence force has been conducting an investigation into drug use in the defence force.
We understand more than 100 staff are involved and the court martial on Monday is part of this investigation.
We would like a response on this matter by the end of today.
NZDF responded the same day:
“A suppression order has been imposed on these matters which does not allow the New Zealand Defence Force to comment. There are also ongoing investigations which preclude any comment on specifics.
NZDF fully intends to comment when the suppression order is no longer in place and legal processes are concluded. It had been NZDF’s intention to inform the public of these matters before the suppression order was imposed.
The NZDF is one of the largest organisations in New Zealand and is not immune to the issues present in wider society.
In general terms, the New Zealand Defence Force has made it plain that the misuse of substances is incompatible with service. Not only are there harmful effects on individuals, but there are health and safety implications for those involved, and their colleagues, especially if they are operating machinery or doing other hazardous work.
Defence Health has been working with the NZ Drug Foundation for two years on more effective ways to reduce the harm from substance misuse. The Defence Force has recognised there must be a comprehensive organisational response to such issues through prevention, support, treatment, rehabilitation, reintegration, deterrence, detection and enforcement.
Because of the suppression order and continuing legal processes it would not be appropriate to put anyone up for interview or comment further.”