All credit to the Queensland Reds for winning the Super Rugby crown for 2011 but at the same time full marks to the Crusaders for a great example of Kiwi stoicism. In the face of many challenges both these teams have done well and fully deserve their accolades (even in defeat).
The Crusaders have travelled great distances this year to play their games since the earthquakes in Christchurch disrupted their plans but they are not the only ones who have travelled great distances. According to HB Today the Defence Minister, Wayne Mapp, has been overseas (at our expense of course) to Crete to take part in ceremonies commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Crete. Its right and proper that New Zealand should be represented at such events but if the report in our local daily is to be believed the Government and Mr Mapp are to be condemned for the way they have treated our veterans of that battle.
If the journalists have got it right Mr Mapp and his entourage spared no expense including luxury accommodation and lavish meals but excluded our veterans from all of this. They had to pay their own way, receiving only a small $2,000 grant which as anyone who has travelled will know barely covers the airport taxes to get on the plane.
These are the men and women who fought the battle. They are the ones who the people of Crete and other Mediterranean countries so admire and respect. These are the people who faced their enemy and fought to protect the freedoms we enjoy today. Where were Mr Mapp and his hangers on when all this happened? They weren’t there of course so I question what right he’s got to go and take all the glory and kudos, to spend lavishly on himself and to be part of the pomp and ceremony when our veterans were the real heroes. They were the ones that should have been flown first class and put up in great accommodation, wined and dined at our expense while the others, politicians in particular, should have taken a back seat.
I am absolutely disgusted at yet another example of how self serving our politicians can be, tightening the purse strings around the necks of the hoi polloi while looking after number one.
Mr Mapp should a) apologise and b) refund the travel, accommodation and incidental costs that those veterans incurred in getting to the Crete commemorations.
I salute the veterans – its because of the sacrifice made by people like them that Mr Mapp is part of a parliamentary democracy and I am able to blog to vent my displease with his actions and attitude.