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5 December 2003

Medals for service in Solomon Islands and Iraq

Hon Mark Burton

Defence Minister Mark Burton today announced that the government has agreed to the institution of a New Zealand General Service Medal (NZGSM) to recognise the current service in Iraq. Agreement has also been given to amend the qualifying service for the NZGSM (Solomon Islands) to recognise the service of members of the Police and the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) who have served in the Solomon Islands with the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

The regulations determining the eligibility for personnel for these awards are being finalised and will need the approval of the Governor-General before the medals are issued.

“These awards recognise the significant contribution New Zealanders continue to make towards peace and reconstruction in these two countries”, said Mark Burton.

“Previously, New Zealand has awarded the NZGSM to personnel deployed to the Solomon Islands to evacuate foreign nationals, as well as for contributions to the International Peace Monitoring Team during the period 2000-2002.

“However, military and police personnel who have recently been deployed under RAMSI to provide assistance in the restoration of law and order and the rule of law in the Solomon Islands are not currently covered by the eligibility criteria for the NZGSM. The regulations are to be amended to extend the award to them.

“This year, New Zealand committed military personnel to the UN Mine Action Force in Iraq. An engineering detachment was also deployed to provide reconstruction assistance in Iraq, serving alongside the British led international force. They, too, will now be eligible for recognition through the NZGSM.

“Our NZDF service personnel, Police, and civilians are making a very important contribution to re-establishing safety, security, and infrastructure in both Iraq and the Solomon Islands. It is fitting that they will now all be eligible for this medal.”


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