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Govt Directly Responsible For Grounded Pilots

7 July 2001

The Government has to take full and direct responsibility for the grounding of members of the air force's Aermacchi jet training squadron, National Defence spokesperson Max Bradford said today.

"Regrettably, this is the first time so many pilots have had to be grounded because of fears about their psychological state.

"These pilots are understandably distressed about their futures. As far as they are concerned their careers have been wrecked by Helen Clark and Mark Burton's incomprehensible decision to disband the air force.

"It's just another sign of a dysfunctional government messing up people-to-people relationships. We've seen this with the Christine Rankin affair, the debacle around Mark Burton's handling of New Zealand Post, and Annette King's singular destruction of the confidence of health professionals.

"The Government's offer to pilots of severance or the continuation of service is insulting to say the least. It's a Hobson's choice because many of these young pilots have no where to go."

Mr Bradford fully supports the decision by senior air force personnel to suspend the pilots' flying time to avoid any possibility of accident.

"Pilots are not the only ones distressed. Under this Government over 700 jobs in the airforce will be lost," Mr Bradford said.


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