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Contract for army vehicles signed

29 January 2001 Media Statement

Contract for army vehicles signed

Prime Minister Helen Clark today signed the contract for the New Zealand Army's biggest equipment purchase – 105 new light armoured vehicles.

Helen Clark and Keith Zerebecki, the general director of General Motors Defense of Canada, the company that will build the vehicles, signed the contract at a ceremony in the Beehive.

Helen Clark and Defence Minister Mark Burton said they were delighted the contract had been finalised, as for too long the army had been the Cinderella of the New Zealand Defence Force.

"Our substantial commitment in recent years to international peacekeeping activities has shown up serious deficiencies in the army's equipment. The armoured personnel carriers the army use are too old to be reliable.

"When participating in dangerous peacekeeping missions, such as in East Timor, it is critical that we back up the professionalism of our land force with decent equipment.

"The decision to buy the new light armoured vehicles reflects the government's aim of ensuring New Zealand can perform well those functions which dominate our deployments and meet our needs," Helen Clark and Mark Burton said.

The contract provides for delivery over the period January 2003 to May 2004 .The value of the contract, based on current exchange rates, is $483.74 million, excluding GST. The overall project cost, which includes infrastructure, extra equipment and a contingency sum, plus GST, is $652.83 million.

The ministers welcomed the provision of some New Zealand industry involvement in the overall project. An industry programme obligation with a minimum value of $7 million is included in the contract with General Motors Defense.


ENDS


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