Hager book alleges possible war crime by NZ troops in Afghanistan
Writer and activist Nicky Hager ended his joint press conference with co-author Jon Stephenson calling on Prime Minister Bill English to take further action about what the two allege was a "possible" war crime committed by New Zealand troops in 2010.
The pair launched their new book, Hit and Run, in Wellington. It alleges that after a raid by Afghan insurgents in 2010, the New Zealand SAS organised a retaliatory action that went horribly wrong.
The retaliation, which the then defence minister Wayne Mapp and the chief of defence staff referred up to then prime minister John Key for approval, hit a village not occupied by insurgents. Several civilians, including children, were killed, and more were injured.
The two allege there has been a consistent refusal by the New Zealand authorities to acknowledge the incident or to admit any culpability.
However, the two also say Mr Mapp had growing reservations about what actually happened and whether he was being told the truth.
The book was not – as many had speculated – an attack on Mr Key, revealing the "real" reasons he resigned last year, and neither was it a revisit to the themes of Dirty Politics, the book Mr Hager published in 2014 and which blew that year's election campaign off course.