4 December 2015
The New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) Chief of Army has condemned the use of illegal drugs in a week that has seen five soldiers lose their jobs.
The soldiers have been discharged after taking a psychoactive substance, commonly known as NBOME, over Labour Weekend 2015.
Earlier this week a soldier was sentenced to 28 days in the Services Corrective Establishment in Burnham after being found guilty of four drug related charges and one alcohol related charge unrelated to the Labour Weekend incident.
Major General (MAJGEN) Peter Kelly says that he will do everything he can to ensure the New Zealand Army is free from illegal drugs.
"I am well aware of the current illegal drug issue throughout New Zealand and I will not stand by and let illegal drugs pollute the integrity of the New Zealand Army. I am exceptionally proud of our Army and I am determined that the actions of a few must not undermine the professionalism and pride of the majority," he said.
MAJGEN Kelly says he wants to reassure the New Zealand public that he has sent a message to his soldiers to ensure they understand illegal drugs have no place in the Army and NZDF and the consequences if they ignore that message.
He says the New Zealand public has every right to expect its military to uphold the highest level of standards of behaviour and is saddened that a few people marred the efforts of the majority.
"We are a military force charged with maintaining the security and freedom of New Zealanders and those countries we work alongside and we must be at the top of our game.
"I have sent a message to every soldier in the New Zealand Army outlining my high expectations and the consequences should they choose to not heed that message.
"If any soldier is caught taking illegal drugs or having illegal drugs in their possession, they will be dealt with to the full extent of the NZDF’s ability."
He says this is in line with the NZDF’s policy for all its three services.
NZDF uniformed personnel undergo random drug testing as well as testing at various levels of their career with strict guidelines followed to ensure the process is accurate and fair. Health and wellbeing programmes and training are used to educate personnel on keeping themselves and their colleagues safe.
MAJGEN Kelly says the New Zealand Army is a disciplined and professional organisation that holds the values of courage, comradeship, commitment and integrity at its core.
He says the risks associated with illegal drug use on the person involved, on their colleagues, their families and those they are serving to protect are intolerable.
Out of the three remaining soldiers involved in the Labour Weekend incident, two have elected courts martial and one has been referred for court martial.
For more information please contact Defence Public Affairs on 021 487 980