Otago Daily Times
February 7, 2001
'Hobbit Squad' Derided
London: After heroism in two world wars, New Zealand's army is again front-page news in Britain, but this time as an object of derision.
Criticism by New Zealand First MP Ron Mark of soldiers working as hobbits on the movie Lord of the Rings so amused the Daily Telegraph it put the story on the front.
"Squaddies get fell in as hobbits for £6 a day", the newspaper said, in an article making play of hobbits being "small people, with large hairy feet".
New Zealand's armed forces were called "hard-up", with troops playing extras before being sent to East Timor as United Nations peacekeepers.