Appointments made to Defence Expert Review Group

Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today the establishment of an Expert Review Group to review a number of aspects of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) structure, information management and record-keeping processes.

The Expert Review Group’s work arises out of the first recommendation from the Report of the Government’s Inquiry into Operation Burnham.

Former Controller and Auditor-General Lyn Provost will chair the group. Lyn Provost’s background as a previous Controller and Auditor-General, Deputy Chief Executive of the New Zealand Police, and Acting Chief Executive of Archives New Zealand makes her the ideal person to lead this review.

Lyn Provost will be joined by:

  • Simon Murdoch, former Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade and former Chief Executive of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet;
  • Tony Lynch, Deputy Chief Executive of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and former Deputy Secretary of Defence;
  • Richard Foy, Chief Archivist, Archives New Zealand;
  • Carol Douglass, Deputy Secretary Governance, People and Executive Services,  Ministry of Defence;
  • Brigadier Hugh McAslan, NZDF.

“All have valuable skills and experience to bring to this work.” said Mr Mark. 

The group will be supported by two international advisers: Dennis Richardson, former Secretary of Defence and former Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia, and Air Marshal (retired) Philip Osborn, Royal Air Force, a previous Chief of Defence Intelligence in the United Kingdom. The group may also seek input from the academic community. 

“As Minister of Defence, I am taking steps to ensure that the NZDF’s organisational structure, record-keeping and retrieval processes are in accord with international best practice. The aim of this is to remove or reduce the possibility that the organisational and administrative failings identified in the Inquiry’s report recur,” said Mr Mark.

“As I indicated at the time of the release of the report, it is critically important that the public have confidence in the Defence Force and that the relevant structures and institutions are fit for purpose.

“Work is also underway to progress the recommendation to establish a new process for dealing with reports of civilian casualties.  Defence officials are engaging with stakeholders from civil society, the academic community and other government agencies to obtain their perspectives to inform new Defence Force procedures,” said Mr Mark.

Further interagency processes are underway to address the other two recommendations of the Operation Burnham report, to develop effective detention policies and procedures, and to establish an independent Inspector-General of Defence. 

A copy of the Terms of Reference of the Expert Review Group can be found at:

https://www.defence.govt.nz/publications/publication/operation-burnham-inquiry-terms-of-reference-review-of-organisational-structure-and-record-keeping-and-retrieval-processes