Wednesday, April 01, 2015

No good reason for secrecy

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee recently returned from Iraq with an impunity agreement enabling the deployment of New Zealand troops. But he's refusing to release it:

Labour has attacked the degree of secrecy about the preparation of a New Zealand troop deployment to Iraq.

The ABC in Australia revealed yesterday that New Zealand troops had begun training with the Australian Defence Force in Australia.

And while Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee said he had a "satisfactory agreement" with the Iraqi Government on legal protections for New Zealand troops on deployment, he said he would not be releasing it for security reasons.

But the security of the soldiers, or the political "security" of the Minister? Because there's only one reason to keep this agreement secret: if it doesn't match what the parties are publicly saying about it. Either it doesn't provide NZ troops with the legal protection Brownlee says it does, or it provides more than the Iraqi regime is willing to admit to. Either way, protecting a government's ability to lie to its people is not a good reason in a democracy to keep something secret. This agreement should be released, so then we can all see what the truth is.