Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


A Simple Question for Cabinet's "Weakest Link"

At Last! A Simple Question for Cabinet's "Weakest Link"

Sunday, August 19 2001

ACT Finance spokesman Rodney Hide said today it was now obvious that "Weakest Link" Minister Mark Burton couldn't answer the tough questions concerning his portfolio responsibilities.

"So now I have a simple question for the hapless Minister: Who's telling the truth?

"The Government has given three different answers to the simple question of whether the new LAV IIIs could have made it to the contact area where Private Leonard Manning was killed in Timor last year.

"Answer Number One comes from Minister of Foreign Affairs Phil Goff who filled in for the bunking Minister of Defence last Thursday. Hon Phil Goff told the House that, 'I am advised by the land component commander of the New Zealand army that whether the vehicle was tracked or wheeled, an armoured vehicle would not have been able to get in close proximity to the ambush were Private Leonard Manning was killed'.

"Answer Number Two comes from the hapless Mark Burton the very next day in a Press Release where he declared: 'That subsequent to the incident involving Private Manning's death, however, a M113 APC was able to move to within about 30 metres of the patrol's position. The NZ Defence Force advise me that the LAV III would be able to get at least as far as the M113'.

"So on Thursday no armoured vehicle was able to 'get in close proximity' while on Friday we are told that the old clapped out M113 was able to get within 30 metres. That's close. The machine guns on the M113 have a range of two kilometres. The turret gun has a range of 1.8 kilometres. We are also told that the LAV III could have made it just as far as the M113.

"The two Ministers can't both be right. Either Phil Goff or Mark Burton is wrong. Of course, they could both be wrong.

"Answer Number Three was from the Chief of Defence. He stated in a draft answer finally released under the Official Information Act that: 'Because of the rugged nature of the terrain in the immediate area where the fire-fight occurred, it would not have been practicable for the LAV IIIs to have been used. There was no realistic alternative to moving on foot.'

"According the Chief of Defence, the M113 made it, but the LAV III couldn't.

"We have one question, but three answers. My question to Cabinet's 'Weakest Link' is this: Who's telling the truth?

"The answer is not an academic one. The taxpayer is spending over $700 million for the LAV IIIs. It's now a serious question whether the LAV IIIs could have assisted the patrol in terrain such as that in which Private Leonard Manning was killed. This is the very sort of terrain that our soldiers will most likely find themselves in.

"We still don't know. Our soldiers risking their lives deserve better from their Minister than this. They need to know just what the capabilities are of the LAV III. The Minister might think he's smart dodging questions in Parliament ' but he should spare a thought for our soldiers who may well be dodging bullets wondering just which Minister is right and whether a LAV is its on way," concluded Rodney Hide.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods ( is the dollar up or down? ) last night’s outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country..>>>More


Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome | Greens on their joining Govt | EDS welcomes new govt | Immigrant groups worry | Feds ready to engage new coalition government | Labour Ministers of the Crown announced


Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election