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Army Mess Deepens

The Government's decision to purchase LAV3s at a potential financial cost of more than $700 million was thrown in further doubt today at Parliament's Finance and Expenditure Select Committee, National's Defence Spokesperson Max Bradford said.

"Under questioning at the committee the Auditor General agreed that he had not concluded that the LAV3s were the right vehicle for the purpose they were to be used for, in contrast to statements by the Prime Minister and Minister of Defence. He also concluded that the purchase of 105 vehicles was not necessarily the right decision.

"When asked whether the LAVs was the best value for money the Auditor General said he could not confirm that either.

"For months now Helen Clark and Mark Burton have been relying on the Auditor General's report as justification for the purchase, even though he was highly critical of the process used to decide on the purchase.

"The mess in the army just deepens day by day. The Auditor General's responses to the committee simply confirm the Opposition's view that there needs to be a full and independent inquiry into defence.

"Editorial opinion is also now swinging in behind this demand to the Government," Mr Bradford said.


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