Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith says a New Zealand journalist who labelled Australian World War I soldiers "lazy bludgers and thieves" will come to regret his comments.
Jock Anderson made the comments during a Radio New Zealand panel discussion last week about a new book by former Australian Army officer and Department of Veterans Affairs historian Graham Wilson.
In Bully Beef and Balderdash, Wilson questions myths surrounding Australia's World War I and World War II volunteer forces, including the legend of the bushmen who transformed into natural warriors on the battlefield.
Anderson said it was an absolute myth.
"The Aussies have been reluctant soldiers at the best of times, and they've been essentially lazy bludgers, some of them - excellent black-marketeers, scavengers, poachers and thieves," he told the panel.
"Occasionally, they've actually been quite good soldiers, but there was no way that they can hold a candle, in my opinion, to the Kiwis."
Mr Smith told reporters at Leeuwin Barracks in Fremantle on Monday that the comments were disrespectful to those who fought for both sides of the Tasman.
"I think he'll come to regret those remarks," Mr Smith said.
"We have the highest regard for the contribution made by our New Zealand colleagues - as they do have for us."Anyone who has been to Gallipoli, who has been to the New Zealand monument at the top of the hill, who understands the contribution that our Kiwi brothers and sisters made in Gallipoli alone - let alone other conflicts, including and up to Afghanistan - would dismiss those comments with the disrespect they deserve."
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