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Defence Dinosaurs Cause Of LAV 3 Confusion

Green Defence Spokesperson Keith Locke has blamed conservatism in the Defence Force for the confusion over the LAV3 contract.

"Acquisition of armoured vehicles was paralysed as the Army tried to overcome resistance from defence dinosaurs who still put a priority on air and naval combat," said Mr Locke.

The Auditor-General has said the Army was 'sceptical of what it sees as an NZDF preference to equip the other two Services.'

"This squares with my own impression through questioning Defence Force chiefs on the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee. They have been reluctant to shift the Force's focus from fighter planes and frigates to the real needs of the army in the era of peacekeeping," said Mr Locke.

"They are out of tune with the Government's new focus on the army, following the phase out of the Skyhawks, the cancellation of a third frigate, and the scrapping of an anti-submarine warfare upgrade for the Orions.

"The report shows the Defence Force wanted to go ahead with the purchase of only 50 LAVs, presumably to free up more money for the navy or air force."

Mr Locke said the Greens backed the Auditor-General's call for equipment to be purchased in a more transparent manner.

"In recent years the Defence Force's capital plans have been too secret, hidden even from the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee.

"It's not acceptable that hundreds of millions of dollars of public money is spent by the Defence Force without proper processes and accountability," said Mr Locke.

Ends




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