Key Points:

Eight New Zealand soldiers serving in East Timor were sent home early after drinking while on duty, with soldiers banned from drinking at all times during their rotation there. In one incident in September, six of the Burnham-based men got drunk at two bars and a cafe in a United Nations barracks while armed with rifles, instead of going on their assigned patrol of Dili, the Sunday Star Times reported.

In another incident several days earlier, two privates who had been assigned to sentry duty in Dili were instead found drunk.

The six men in the first incident were sentenced to up to 27 days in Burnham's military prison, and their section commander demoted, while the other two men were sentenced to 25 days at the same prison.

- NZPA