Jon Stephenson

A year ago New Zealand's top soldier stood in front of the cameras and insisted that the book Hit & Run had got it wrong. This week, after a year's wait, an OIA request prompted the NZDF to admit the photos in the book had the right location after all. This is the story of that request

News broke on Tuesday that the New Zealand Defence Force had released documents that corroborated important parts of Jon Stephenson's and Nicky Hager's book, Hit & Run, and fatally undermined their central, crucial critique of the book. 

It's too easy to call an inquiry just to put the questions to bed, so the Prime Minister has called it right. Why put people through the mill without incontrovertible evidence?

I don't want to be disrespectful to a fellow pundit, but to my mind Bill English has got it right by deciding not to hold an inquiry into allegations that New Zealand soldiers may have committed war crimes in Afghanistan. The evidential threshold just hasn't been met.

We can honour both our soldiers and the Afghans, but only by finding out what really happened on that August night in 2010... though that may not require a full inquiry 

War is different from any other organised human activity. Decades, even centuries, after military conflict, the reasons for it are examined and consequences are measured. A nation's conduct is weighed in the balance.

Almost a week after the release of Hit & Run, we have more questions than answers from the Defence Force and the Government.

Here’s some that have been rattling around in my brain this week:

The Prime Minister has in recent times been prepared to shift some moral ground for political ease. Now he faces the greatest moral test of his short time in power in the face of calls for an inquiry into the O'Donnel raid

I can't help wondering if Bill English is going to church on Sunday. While reports today say the Prime Minister is meeting with Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee and New Zealand Defence Force heads about the claims in the Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson book Hit & Run, the more crucial meeting that day may be between English and his God.