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ACT Seeks Urgent Debate On LAV3s

The ACT party is seeking a special debate in Parliament next week on the Auditor General's report on the acquisition of light armoured vehicles (LAVs) for the army.

ACT leader Richard Prebble said it was essential that MPs should debate the report's findings, given that the proposed purchase of 105 LAV3s involved an expenditure of $700 million ' the largest defence expenditure to date under this government.

"The House urgently needs to consider whether such a large expenditure should proceed, given the Auditor General's finding of dysfunctional relationships between the three arms of the defence force involved in the decision to purchase the LAV3s," Mr Prebble said.

"The report gives no confidence that taxpayers are getting value for money from the LAV3 purchase. It reveals that the tender process was seriously flawed. The government needs to urgently consider whether to cancel the tender and begin again.

"The cost of the LAV3s has increased by almost $500 million since the original decision to purchase the vehicles in 1999. There's a suggestion that top military officials have acted inappropriately in this project yet no one is being held accountable.

"The government can't spend $500 million more than the original Cabinet directive without Parliament being able to express a view. A blow-out of $500 million on a project must be some sort of record.

"Think what $500 million could be spent on. It would fund the entire hospital deficit with money to spare, and clear hospital waiting lists..

"This is a matter on which the government needs to hear Parliament's view urgently," Mr Prebble said.

ENDS




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