| New Zealand News | Saturday August 25 2012 16:29
The Prime Minister and the Governor General insist it is right for our soldiers to remain in Afghanistan until we're due to pull out.
They've been speaking at the memorial service in Christchurch to honour Corporal Luke Tamatea, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker and Private Richard Harris, all killed by a roadside bomb in Bamyan Province last weekend.
The soldiers were part of the Provincial Reconstruction Team.
John Key says more than 2,500 New Zealander Defence Force personnel have served in Afghanistan since July 2003.
"Now not only is the hospital being rebuilt, but health centres have been established across Bamyan Province. Infant mortality rates have almost halved and maternal deaths are a quarter of the levels seen in 2002."
Sir Jerry Mateparae says it's natural to question our being in Afghanistan after the deaths of five soldiers in a matter of weeks.
And he says it's easy to talk of a positive contribution from afar.
"Those who have served in Bamyan have seen it. They have seen it in the faces of the Afghan people they meet everyday. They have seen it in the bright eyes of the children they meet, the boys and girls who play in the street who can go to school and who can look to the future."
Sir Jerry says the three soldiers served with great honour and demonstrated courage, commitment, comradeship and integrity.
John Key |