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Defence Procurement Systems A Mess

22 August 2001

New Zealand First spokesman on Defence, Ron Mark, today said his stance over the last few years regarding the purchasing process for military equipment, has been totally vindicated by the Report of the Auditor-General into the Army’s acquisition of Light Armoured Vehicles and Light Operational Vehicles.

“This report should cause the Minister of Defence and the Minister of Finance to express grave concern as it will for all taxpayers,” said Mr Mark. “Given that I warned the Minister of what was going on in Defence, in August 2000, I believe that heads should roll and that process should commence with the Minister resigning out of shame for his inaction.

“The level of criticisms revealed in the report are such that the Defence Minister should immediately demand that a robust and transparent process for purchasing and tendering amongst the defence services be implemented and that those responsible for the sloppy and haphazard activities exposed by the Auditor-General be employed in positions where they can no longer have a detrimental effect on the public purse.”

“Further, the Labour/Alliance coalition government should place on hold every purchase decision pending, which can still be halted at this time, in order that a thorough audit be completed and the order for the LAVIII’s and their associated support needs which will hit $800 million, be cancelled just as they did with the F16 aircraft,” Mr Mark said.

“I have been warning Government repeatedly of the wrong decisions and methodology used within defence circles to order and tender contracts, and it is a tragedy for taxpayers that my concerns and warnings have to date been ignored.

“I trust that the Defence Minister and his colleagues will listen to the Auditor-General and take action,” concluded Mr Mark

ENDS

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