Golden handcuffs shackling pilots to airforce
Opposition Defence Spokesperson
9 March 2000
Golden handcuffs shackling pilots to flight-less air force
National's Defence spokesperson Wayne Mapp said today he fully understood the plight of the air force pilots whose careers had been cut short by Labour's defence policy.
"But it's outrageous that the air force is effectively having to bribe these people with "golden handcuffs" to try to get them to stay."
Dr Mapp was responding to reports that air force pilots had been paid $25,000 each to stay in the job.
"The payments are clearly a direct result of the expected cancellation of the F16 contract.
"Labour is destroying the careers of highly skilled professionals and that's destroying morale. It's another cost of backing out of the F16 contract.
"In reality the pilots are quite right - what useful work would they have once the Labour Government has destroyed the air force's air strike capability by cancelling the F16s?
"I can understand highly trained professionals being frustrated that they'll no longer have access to state-of-the-art equipment under Labour's downgraded defence plans.
"It's appalling that at a time when the defence budget is tight that the air force is having to throw away almost $1million to pay-off disgruntled staff."