Honourable Dame Silvia Cartwright PCNZM,DBE,Governor-General of New Zealand

Private Bag

Wellington New Zealand



Re: (a) Complaint to Governor-General, Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.
(b) High Court Appeal, Privacy Review Tribunal Decision \ HRRT 29/01
request by appellant for release of transcript.
(c) Please assist your Honour.


Dear Commander-in-Chief Hon Dame Cartwright,

  1. The writer/plaintiff is deeply concerned that he is been deprived of a right to have his recorded complaints pertaining to aspects of his service with the New Zealand Army heard. That the Chairperson hearing the complainants complaint before Privacy Review Tribunal 13th June 2002 and 1st July 2002 has found the Tribunal does not have the powers to make a decision on the substance of my complaint.
    Because the plaintiff over a number of years complained to Chief of Staff Defence Force who in turn has repeatedly refused to hear his complaints. The plaintiff asked at hearing on the 13th June, that the Tribunal Chairperson accept his moral and legal obligation to hear the plaintiff’s complaints by virtue of a section set out within the Armed Forces Discipline Act. A section that states a soldier must continue his complaint to a higher authority until addressed.
    It appears within the decision received today, that the Privacy Review Tribunal appointed by your Honour, refuses to finalize my complaint. Respectfully please would your Honour the Commander-in-Chief of the New Zealand Armed Forces, please listen to my complaint?

Would your Honour please take the time and if necessary receive pleadings in respect to aspects of the way I was treated by army during my time past and present, in service?

  1. The plaintiff is very unhappy with findings of the Privacy Review Tribunal found within the decision received today. It would appear to the plaintiff that either the Privacy Commissioner or the plaintiff could likely file an appeal in the High Court appealing other aspects relating to the privacy of an individual in the Tribunals decision. At first glance, the plaintiff feels the Tribunals finding in respect to sec. 66, at the very least, probably warrants a hearing before the High Court however it seems somewhat unrelated to the substance of the facts of the matters filed.
    While clearly, the plaintiff has been deprived of proper legal representation throughout the 14 years that it’s taken him to gain a judicial hearing; he should of course not be deprived of a proper hearing.
    The plaintiff is very concerned he does not have a copy of the transcript of the hearings 13th June and 1st July to assist the construction of an appeal before the High Court. He understands you Honour, you alone have the power to order that he be provided with a copy of the transcript of all the proceedings heard in these matters. Could you please order that the plaintiff be given a copy of the Tribunal Transcript?
    The plaintiff is very concerned that his document in chief (Identifying Doc.) was not given a reading at all during the Tribunal proceedings. That the plaintiff (as stated by the chairperson because of a lack of available tribunal time, time actually shortened by request from crown law) was only allowed to explain some aspects of the filed attachments attached to the Identifying Doc, a document earlier Chairperson Bathgate had ordered he file as his document in chief.
    The Tribunal may well have erred in its finding (44 of the decision) where it is stated Ms Laracy (Crown Law) attended the meeting at Rotorua, September 2001. The plaintiff states that a martial witness Crown Solicitor “Mary-Jane Thomas” was removed from proceedings by crown law after the meeting, and that she had witnessed Lt Col Taylor produce a document bearing a clear forgery of his signature. That Ms Laracy did not attend the meeting at Rotorua at all. That Barrister Peter Birks of Rotorua was also present at that meeting. That the NZ RSA had paid for Mr Birks attendance, however as the plaintiff is without funds to engage Mr Birks he is therefore unable to be represented by him.
    That the decision fails to acknowledge that the plaintiff suffered the many problems suffered in direct consequence of the NZ Defence Force and Government failure to hear his complaints, particularly I refer to the plaintiff being in constant Psychological care with Mark Creswell Services during the years he resided in Hervey Bay Queensland. That the Australian RSL in Hervey Bay paid for, extensive psychological support, assisting the plaintiff to address these matters. Matters pertaining to the Defence Force repeated refusals, being refusals to produce documents now clearly recorded however but for one not produced for hearing at the Tribunal.
    The only documents (save other than the vaccination certificates and a couple of tampered with signals) produced by Defence Force, were only finally produced during the week preceding the hearing at Wellington on 13th June. During the hearing, Lt Col Taylor quite clearly stated some of those documents appeared repeatedly on the Defence Force file and he inferred I was asking for documents I already had. I did not hold copies of those documents and had not seen them before the meeting at Rotorua.
    Chairperson Hindle stated in relation to those documents produced at Rotorua by Lt Col Taylor, that it was the duty of the Plaintiff to call witnesses. When however, Chairperson Hindle had ordered the defendant to produce all the documents produced at Rotorua and therefore at the very least in the plaintiffs mind, the duty lay with the Tribunal to summons those witnesses Peter Birks and May-Jane Thomas. That the Humans Rights Act quite clearly states a complainant cannot be adversely effected by technicalities in Law.
    Lt Col Taylor stated in evidence at the hearing in Auckland that the plaintiff’s pay-book currently held by army, showed entries ceased in February 1966. He still holds the plaintiff’s pay-book and vaccination records even thought the plaintiff asked before the tribunal for his documents to be given back to him.
    During the latter part of the hearing Auckland 1st July, Chairperson Hindle repeatedly inferred the plaintiff might have been confused at the time of his second posting to Vietnam. The plaintiff affirms before your Honour herein, that the only time he reengaged during his army service was in February / March 1966 during his in transit posting at Papakura military camp for service as a gunner driver with 161 Bty. The plaintiff did not sign the two reengagements recorded in his name on file, nor had he ever seen them till some time during the early 1990’s, nor did he seek early release from his service contact, nor either did he again reengage June 1967 during his service in South Vietnam, as is incorrectly recorded on file. The defendant gave evidence that the plaintiff had been posted to 161 Bty early 1966.
    The plaintiff believes transcript of the proceeding at Wellington and Auckland will clearly show Lt Col Taylor gave considerable and substantial verbal evidence in reply in excess of Defence Forces written evidence in chief.
    Evidence in support of the plaintiffs claim that the army arranged a sweetheart for the plaintiff to write to while in Vietnam, (even though the plaintiff could not easily write as he could not spell) was produced by the plaintiff in evidence and is not highlighted or mentioned within the decision. The tribunal did not hear his evidence in Chief.
    The plaintiff states army personal, mainly HQ staff Saigon South Vietnam, assisted the arrangement of a marriage between the plaintiff and the young lady. They assisted a marriage for twenty-three days after his return from his active service. Active service mostly alone unarmed for thirteen months in South Vietnam with very little support or even basic training. The plaintiff was not really in a very fit state of mind then, he had been escorted out of Vietnam, and kept drunk in Singapore for two weeks at armies expensive before flown back to NZ.
  2. Your Honour a Col Seymour for Chief of Defence Force clearly stated in writing the plaintiff’s correct departure date; the correct day I departed overseas to defend New Zealand, while the Tribunals decision appears to make small of the significance of the senor offices statement. The decision appears to propose a person other than Col Seymour wrote what he Col Seymour had signed, a completely unsupported load of bunkum apparently supported by the tribunal.
    Your Honour army forged not only my signature on reengagement contracts held on file, but also rewrote my service records from the beginning of 1966 on, right through to the alleged discharge in mid 1968. The plaintiff believes that was not lawful, that doing that did not constitute that that is lawful for the constitution of his entitlement of a lawful discharge.
    At the very least, the plaintiff’s pay-book proposes he never received any army pay from February 1966 onwards. That the plaintiff’s vaccination records quite clearly contain errors. That his annual medicals are inconsistent with the Combat Brigade Groups high standard of unit status reporting in place at that time. Eighteen months between his annual medical at that time did not and could not have occurred.
    That Lt Col Taylor cannot recall a document he produced is inconsistent with what the plaintiff says occurred at the meeting at Rotorua.
    Been taken off strength and put back on strength as records propose to show occurred in June 1967, was not just some meaningless administration process, proposed at hearing by Lt Col Taylor. The plaintiff believes that was indeed consistent with the extension of the earlier reengagement he had signed covering a tour of duty plus three months, as a gunner driver with 161 Bty in South Vietnam, signed in February \ March 1966. It is consistent with the normal procedures the army employ on reengagement. The only extension of his initial service contract the plaintiff ever signed occurred in February \ March 1966.

    The plaintiff was asked to return to New Zealand to sort these matters; he is now left considerably out of pocket in doing so. The plaintiff has lost more than thirty years of his life trying to come to terms with and identifying why. Moreover, is doing his very best to bring the truth to the front. Please don’t allow continued errors to go unchecked.
    The New Zealand Government unlawfully attacked the plaintiff in Australia, the events were preceded by errors in law here in New Zealand and relates directly to the marriage the army arranged. In consequence, the plaintiff lost family and farming interests in Australia.  The plaintiff raised at hearing on a number of occasions before the Privacy Review Tribunal, both in writing and verbally expressing that his Human Rights are being seriously violated, violated before law in New Zealand and as well in Australia, he cannot see any evidence that the Humans Rights Commissioner chairing the Tribunal has acted to sort that.   
    Respectfully please your Honour assists the plaintiff.


Yours truly



Robert F Plumtree