Be more careful, VC holder told

Corporal Willie Apiata has been to told be more careful after being snapped by a photographer in Kabul, the Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant-general Jerry Mateparae said yesterday.

The photograph was taken shortly after Cpl Apiata had removed his helmet.

He had just established with other coalition forces that buildings in downtown Kabul had been cleared of insurgents and had turned to head back with a colleague to his SAS group.

The picture of Cpl Apiata and an unnamed colleague was published in The New Zealand Herald.

The colleague had on a helmet and glasses.

Lt-gen Mateparae said Cpl Apiata had seen the photograph.

"Willie has been spoken to," he said.

"He has been told to be more careful."

But he said it was not a disciplinary matter - he had not broken any rules.

He would not say if Cpl Apiata was being brought home or would return at the end of the first rotation - thought to be next month.

Lt-gen Mateparae said that while he did not have to consult the SAS about the new policy of disclosure, it was aware of the trends towards greater disclosure.

"They and I believe that it is a fair comment that New Zealanders should know what people are doing on their behalf."

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