David Fisher

David Fisher is a senior reporter for the NZ Herald.

Crash victim's family disgusted by string of bungles

Ben Carson (centre) with his parents Andrew and Pauline Carson in 2009. Photo / Supplied
Ben Carson (centre) with his parents Andrew and Pauline Carson in 2009. Photo / Supplied

Bungles by a string of government agencies and ministers have left the parents of Anzac Day crash victim Ben Carson feeling abandoned.

Thirty months after Ben was killed when an air force Iroquois helicopter crashed, Andrew and Pauline Carson have lost faith in the ability of New Zealand to look after its own.

The errors range from massive to almost meaningless.

At the lesser end of the scale, Prime Minister John Key wrote to apologise for the errors which had troubled the family - and dated the letter two months before the crash, when Ben was still alive. At the greater end, the Government completely bungled its health and safety investigation into the crash - there was confusion over whose job it was and it never got done.

The air force has recognised errors in dealing with families of the three airmen killed. An investigation has been underway for 18 months to establish the extent of the mishandling.

But the problem extends further. And if you ask the couple what they get for their taxes, Mr Carson responds: "Absolutely nothing."

They have sought help in all corners of the government. The police, who will be taking a formal criminal complaint from the Carsons this month, didn't get in touch nine months ago even though instructed to do so by their minister.

"We've got the Prime Minister who can't even get the year right."

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman misinformed the couple over the health and safety investigation. The Civil Aviation Authority did not recognise an agreement it had to help resolve confusion over such issues.

The Carsons still want an inquiry. Mr Carson said the investigation needed to be started from the beginning. "It has left the military a hell of a lot of time to cover up what they want to."

- NZ Herald

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