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Inevitable F16 Decision Misses The Real Point

United New Zealand Party leader, Hon Peter Dunne, says today’s “inevitable” decision to cancel the F16 contract misses the real point.

“From day one this whole saga has highlighted the inadequacy of the way successive governments have approached defence capital expenditure requirements.”

“A small country like New Zealand will always have problems ensuring its armed forces are up to standard, given the high procurement costs involved.”

“It is fundamentally wrong that major defence decisions are being made principally on the basis of affordability, rather than practical needs.”

“Today’s decision, which is not really about F16s at all, as its rejection of the Quigley Report’s recommendation to lease fewer aircraft shows, reinforces that totally inadequate view,” he says.

Mr Dunne says the Government has to radically rethink the way it funds future defence capital requirements, otherwise we will face the F16 fiasco all over again the next time major expenditure issues are on the table.

“To provide the capital equipment needed for modern defence purposes, we must look at differing ways of financing these deals in the future, otherwise we will always look like unreliable freeloaders to our friends and allies, which does New Zealand’s reputation no good at all.”

“After all, commercial airlines and shipping companies routinely use long-term leasing arrangements as the only effective way of financing these expensive capital acquisitions, and there is no real reason at all, why our defence forces should not be operating the same way.”

“The F16 leasing arrangement was an ad hoc start to the type of the new approach we need.”

“Its cancellation shows the Government is still wedded to the traditional funding approach, which makes it inevitable we will go through the same national anguish all over again the next time we need to upgrade defence hardware,” Mr Dunne says.


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