Dear John Oh How I Hate To Write

Defence Welfare Knob Award

Everyone who has been deployed knows how uplifting it is to receive a letter or parcel from home. On my first deployment, the internet didn’t exist so letters were a big-ticket item – facilitated by the “Forces Concession” postal arrangement which meant it cost no more to send a letter to a soldier in Sinai as it did in Waiouru. My second mission was to East Timor. We had internet and cell phone connection – sometimes – and it was private as long as you accepted that the Aussie spooks were reading and listening to everything (yeah, we knew, you drongos!).

We have personnel deployed all around the world in ones and threes. Families are brought in to the pre-deployment brief and told all sorts of things about how they can best support their loved ones on operations. There’s even a deployed personnel website which is a great collection of links but doesn’t have any info about mailing stuff to your whanau.

Here’s the drop. A source has told me that some knob in the NZDF system has been emailing directly or indirectly to deployed personnel chastising them for the amount of mail they are receiving and telling them that they can only receive one package a week and it can’t be over 1kg. They have been telling people that they will be ‘throttling’ deliveries at that rate. Watch out Santa!

Somehow, apparently, it is the service-person’s responsibility to ensure that not too many people love them or want to support them in theatre. They must not deploy across a birthday, Christmas or other significant event without warning whanau and friends in advance to coordinate pressie sending.

Please share this widely to ensure it ends up in the inbox of the “A-Grade Knob” that thought that it was OK to sit in a comfortable office in New Zealand and dictate what mail should be received by deployed New Zealand personnel. There are job opportunities for this type of person in other countries. They should take them.