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Cunliffe gets it wrong again, this time on his grandfather's WWI service

In a speech to a conference over the weekend  spoke of his grandfather’s service in WWI and specifically referred how his grandfather won a Military Medal for valour.

However Whale has checked the service records (which are online and available to anyone) and there is no record of the MM being awarded to Bob Tuke, Cunliffe’s grandfather. There was one awarded to an Edmund Tuke, who is Bob’s brother.

Unless the service records are faulty, the claim doesn’t appear to be correct. I presume it is relatively easy to verify – one could ask the NZ Defence Force to confirm.

I think it is important to stress that anyone who served honourably in WWI, deserves our thanks, recognition and honour – regardless of which medals they did or did not receive. To me, they are all war heroes.

However if you are making a formal speech, and referring to medals received by your ancestor, then it is a very good idea to make sure your facts are correct. If you are an aspiring Prime Minister, it is even more important.

UPDATE: The Herald reports that the claim is definitely incorrect.

Political commentator David Farrar posts at Kiwiblog.

Comments and questions

The continuing story of the credibility of Mr Cunliffe.Would be great to read at least one genuine truthful story from the world of David Cunliffe.

Seems a bit of a beat up? Not exactly a serious error and just comes across as a petty attack, surely there are better screw ups (out of the many) to attack him on?

Agreed. I'm no fan of Cunliffe by any means, but this seems like just an honest and harmless mistake.

I'm not sure - appropriating someone else's service record to make someone closer to you look like more of a hero than he was?

I'm not wanting to make a generalisation here, but for most New Zealanders their ancestor's war service is known and a matter of pride. Mine is - I know where and when my grandfather served and what he did.

I think there is more to it than a brain fade. He was talking humself up and thought he'd get away with it. .

Actually its not a harmless mistake. The Military Medal is awarded for bravery in battle, and in those days was the non-commissioned equivalent of a Military Cross. The medal that Cunliffe's grandfather won are service medals, awarded for participating in a specified theatre, not for individual bravery. I respect the contribution of everyone who fought, but there is something special about an award for bravery.

No, this is pretty valid - my direct grandfather spilt blood and lost friends and family in WW2 - I think trying to coatail on someone else is like taking the identity of a dead person - the only person benefitting is you. He would know exactly , and if any doubt don't say anything - until any direct relatives of soldiers from war are not around it will always be a very tender subjecy - anyway, who even brings a phone out at a service - thats rookie mistakes by a rookie politician who supports the working class but lives in a 3 million dollar house in Herne Bay. as Bob Hake said aboyt eh Oz Labour movement - they have lost touch with the working man - Cunliffe would do well to watch what Bob had to say - Cunliffe looks like a right winger who joined the left as the right was full - at least Shane Jones was interesting.

Forget your personal view and look at it from the average swing voter. Grandfather or grandfathers brother means nothing to a lot of voters. Front paging it makes it look more the government running scared than Cunliffe being a dishonest politician. There have been enough genuine stories to keep this lower profile and not make it look like a concerted media attack at any remote opportunity.

Oh for goodness sake Whale and the rest of you - get over yourselves. His great uncle won the military medal and it was a simple confusion. It's not as if no-one in his family won the MM and Cunliffe was trying to pretend otherwise. This is a beat-up. Are you all really so worried about Cunliffe and his election prospects?

Does David Cunliffe have plans to make a speech sometime prior to the election that doesn't involve half-truths, gaffes or just petty vitriol at National? He's losing credibility by the day.

Yes, just as well our Prime Minister does not tell half truths...he said he wouldn't raise gst....if he only told half truths, he would raise gst...oh, wait a minute.......

Just like Key on Morning report yesterday re taking the synthetics off the shelves.... 'we looked at that a long time ago" - (interviewer) you mean last week - (Key) 'well last week was a long time ago.' pure B.S.

well a week in politics...

Labour certainly is not looking like a party that can govern. Throw in the silly Greens and it looks even worse. I think I will continue to vote National even though I was a traditional labour voter up unto Aunty Helen began to control my life.

I don't see this as an honest mistake - he was trying by association to talk himself up - i.e. "My grandfather was not just an ordinary soldier - he was a Hero"

by itself perhaps not so bad - but he has a ongoing tendency to embellish.

I would normally give him an amount of credit as an intelligent man who has a credible record - anyway - so I am not sure why he is continually trying to embellish to make himself look better than he is.

It is a big problem he is starting to grow.

Perhaps he's just a little "tricky"