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Minister's Refusal to Defend COAS is Outrageous

Minister's Refusal to Defend Chief of Air Staff is Outrageous

Thursday, October 11 2001 Richard Prebble Press Releases -- Foreign Affairs & Defence


Phil Goff's refusal to defend the honour of the Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice-Marshall Donald Hamilton, is outrageous, ACT leader Richard Prebble says.

"Mr Goff's claim in Parliament today that he couldn't confirm that Air Vice-Marshall Hamilton opposed the disbanding of the airforce's air strike capacity is simply untrue," Mr Prebble said.

"Mr Goff, the acting Defence Minister, went further and implied that Air Vice-Marshall Hamilton supports the airforce redundancies.

"That statement is an outrageous lie.

"Every MP knows the Air Vice-Marshall strongly opposed the disbanding of the Skyhawk squadron and every MP also knows the Air Vice-Marshall recommended against the redundancies.

"The decision to disband the air strike force was made solely by the Labour/Alliance Ministers and it is contrary to the Westminster parliamentary constitution for a Minister to refuse to take responsibility for a government decision.

"While no MP likes to be 'named' in the House and lose a day's pay, I make no apology for standing up for the honour of the New Zealand Air Force.

"The public will think it extraordinary that a Minister can tell an outrageous lie to Parliament and then an MP is thrown out for telling the truth and standing up for the integrity of the airforce.

"My naming was completely unnecessary. I had withdrawn and apologised, on the Speaker's instruction. I had also left the House as requested.

"It's significant that Parliament divided on party lines on the Speaker's hasty decision to name me," Mr Prebble said.

ENDS


For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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