Soldiers slam Key on Facebook
Tue, 21 Aug 2012 6:07p.m.
By Patrick Gower
Kiwi soldiers have whipped up a storm of social media criticism for Prime Minister John Key and his decision to choose his son's baseball game over two soldiers' funerals.
At the centre of it was Corporal Luke Tamatea, one of the soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
Cpl Tamatea was a popular soldier, who had another identity on the internet – his Facebook pseudonym, "Gruntlife Secondfirst" – and he used a photo of his dead comrade L/Cpl Rory Malone on his page.
He was critical about Mr Key's decision not to go to the funerals of L/Cpl Pralli Durrer and L/Cpl Malone, killed two weeks ago, instead going to his son's baseball game in the United States.
But Mr Key did not want to engage today.
" have huge respect for him," says Mr Key. "He paid the ultimate price in defence of our country and he has my upmost respect."
Just 11 days ago 'Gruntlife' liked a comment that said: "Our brothers gave their lives for your country... Do you plan on attending more soldiers [sic] funerals – is that why it's ok [sic] to miss these two?"
Another person's comments about the anti-Key post include references to bullet calibres.
Other reported comments from Tamatea include: "If I was a leader of a country I would attend the funerals of our fallen soldiers..... I wouldnt [sic] be at a f****** baseball game!!"
"I can understand why he felt like that," says Russel Norman, Greens co-leader. "I'm sure many of our personnel would have felt strongly."
When asked if he made the right decision, Mr Key said: "I'm just not going to litigate that… have huge respect for him, and I don't intend to engage any further on comments he might have made."
Other criticisms on Facebook from a group of current and former soldiers includes the Government's argument that no vehicle could have withstood the blast from the 20kg bomb that killed Cpl Tamatea, L/Cpl Jacinda Baker and Private Richard Harris.
One says mine-resistant vehicles used by allies in Afghanistan would have been better than either the Humvees or LAVs: "... most of the other REAL MRAP [Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected] vehicles in country could have easily protected the occupants from IED's [sic] that size".
"The professional advice I have had from the Chief of Defence is that our people have the best available equipment – including vehicles," says Minister of Defence Jonathan Coleman.
The Army says it does not ban its soldiers from having Facebook pages, as long as they do not post information online that compromises security. But it's clear many soldiers are using pseudonyms so their bosses can't identify them.
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7/09/2012 12:24:30 a.m.
@ Chris (24/08/2012 10:08:00 p.m.)
Man, when you National voters try to deflect, you grasp at any straws, don't you?!?!? WTF does Helen Clark have to do with John Key??? And what about the TAKING RESPONSIBILITY that you right wingers always demand of other people???
Key made his decision, no one else. You can blame others all you like, Chris, it just make your team look pathetic.
3/09/2012 4:24:13 p.m.
Yeah, Ole Gillard went straight home to her fallen soldiers when in Rarotoanga, She to knew what was more important to her her country when you take the PM job on your family is just about on the back bench just like every other working man out there who is away working from their families like these soldiers, a lot more respect to be seen from NZ PM if you want the job in the future matey !!, A baseball game in America, now the son of John Key will probably get all upset at NZ and try and follow in his fathers foot steps like BUsh did to america...hope not....revenge is bitter sweet...how can a boy not feel guilty about this one...good on you John, you really placed your family in the midst of more crap!! do you really want to take the PM job on again. You will feel Australia PM Sue Gillard, More scandles to come out of the wood work with the defence forces now claiming the machines are ancient compared to americans vehicles. Good luck if you want to sign up to the defence force, you may get to hop into a dinosaur or two. Come on Keys sharpen the act up will you for both maori and pakeha bro. Now the water is on hold where is the money gonna come from now that the sale is held up, aye Paula your plan is heading for disaster.
3/09/2012 2:23:01 p.m.
@MAC Chris always posts this PR national blurb. And we are the nation and have every right to voice our opinion on what we expect from our PM. Who are you to suggest otherwise.
27/08/2012 9:44:25 p.m.
All those anti John Key fans who have posted should really read Chris's post. Apart from the antics of past leaders of the Labour party. The main bit is that the families of the soldiers are ok with the PM not being there. Now who are you to say otherwise?
26/08/2012 7:22:08 p.m.
Maori boy wrote:
this is total rubbish what john key has just done come on man! you can always attend a baseball game but u cant attend a funeral it only happens once. i must say hes the most shellfish and no guts prime minister. (NOT VOTING FOR YOU MATE!)
24/08/2012 10:08:00 p.m.
I hope this is posted as really some lefties here need to look a little deeper.
The posts here sickened me for a number of reasons. The first being that Helen Clark - that disingenuous hypocritical ex. Labour PM - was front and centre chucking paint and spitting at the brave men returning from the vietnam war in the 70'S as part of the communist funded Progressive Youth Movement along with Phil Goff, who ironically became Labours Defence Minister. Yes that's right - Helen Clark spitting at our returning soldiers [Google it]. The second and most important reason is why Labour and it's supporters sickens me is that they are now using this tragedy for political gain.
This in contrast to Key who saw the families privately and they acknowledged this. They wrote to the Dom. Post saying they were fine with him going to the States to see his son represent NZ. The funeral was private. The Commander in Chief [Jerry M.] was there as was B.English. Goff is the one you should be disgusted in - he turn this latest tragedy into 'politics' the day the three soldiers died. Some
hate John Key no matter what the facts are.
Labour sent them there, National are bringing them home.
24/08/2012 7:50:32 p.m.
**** john key, this is absolutely disgusting that he would miss these soldiers funerals. His son's first game in the US was 13th of August and his last game was 16th, he could have easily done both. Does he think these soldiers aren't sacrificing time with their families? Or the Families that work two jobs and weekends just to feed their families aren't sacrificing? What an absolute *****.
24/08/2012 7:15:42 p.m.
Gail Pinny wrote:
How could kiwis vote for such a heartless man!I fear for our country!
24/08/2012 9:06:04 a.m.
John Key sent them to Afghanistan as he believes it is the right thing to do for our Nation to fight in this war. (Why I have no idea) So as such he should then show respect with honour and dignity to stand shoulder to shoulder with the family's to respect the soldiers courage and commitment to sacrifice them selves for his beliefs. Anyone who can not see that has zero pride, honour, respect and dignity too.
23/08/2012 6:02:04 p.m.
greg collins wrote:
With all due respect if you join the army casulties are always a possibility so why take it out on John Key
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