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Comments about soldier 'unfortunate' - Key

Tuesday 28 Aug 2012 6:07a.m.

Soldier comments 'unfortunate' - Key

Threats against a woman who made "unfortunate" comments about a soldier killed in Afghanistan can't be condoned, Prime Minister John Key says.

Barbara Sumner-Burstyn, a Canadian now living in New Zealand, last week accused Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker of "killing innocent people".

She said on her Facebook page: "Oh, so fallen soldier Jacinda Baker liked boxing and baking - did they forget she also liked invading countries we are not at war with, killing innocent people and had no moral compass."

Former soldier Ted Grainger reacted by creating a Facebook page titled "Sumner Burstyn give back your NZ passport".

It gained more than 21,000 followers and Ms Sumner-Burstyn says some responses were extreme and included threats to rape or kill her.

Mr Key told reporters he thought Ms Sumner-Burstyn's comments were "unfortunate... this is a fine New Zealand soldier who has passed away and I think we should be careful in making those kind of comments".

Mr Grainger has shut down his Facebook page.

"Obviously we don't condone some of the reactions but I think it's a highly-charged debate and it's important for everyone to be thoughtful," Mr Key said.

Ms Sumner-Burstyn has apologised for her comments, saying she had a difficult few days.

She says her family has had to flee their home after her contact details were published.


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