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Serious doubt over adequacy of LAVs

Max Bradford National Defence Spokesperson

16 August 2001

Serious doubt over adequacy of LAVs

There are serious question marks over the New Zealand Army's proposal to purchase 105 LAV armoured personnel carriers for $658 million, National's Defence spokesperson Max Bradford said today. "Minister of Defence Mark Burton has been doctoring answers to questions from Members of Parliament to fit the Government's decision to buy the LAV III vehicles.

"We now have clear evidence of Mark Burton changing answers approved by the Government's chief military advisor, the Chief of Defence Force, Air Marshal Carey Adamson.

"Air Marshal Adamson advised the Minster in a draft answer that the LAV IIIs would not have been practicable in the rugged East Timor terrain where Private Manning was killed.

"The Minister of Defence refused to accept a draft answer which made it clear that it would not have been practicable for the LAV IIIs to be used in the incident involving Private Manning. This makes it clear the LAV IIIs are not suitable for use in many parts of East Timor where they would be needed. "On the other hand it showed that the existing M113 armoured personnel carriers were suitable and where able to move within 30m of the place where Private Manning's patrol was fired upon.

"East Timor is typical of the terrain where we are likely to deploy peacekeeping forces - forces which need APCs which can be used in the terrain.

"This confirms my view that successive Ministers have received poor advice from the army and that there should be a full inquiry into the adequacy of the LAV III before New Zealand makes an irrevocable goof of major proportions in defence," Mr Bradford said.

Ends




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