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NZ Defence Force to be congratulated

New Zealand Defence Force to be congratulated for their work

Minister of Defence Mark Burton today congratulated the New Zealand Defence Force personnel, for their rapid, efficient response to the call for an RNZAF C130 in Bali.

“With only a few hours’ notice, NZDF had assembled a medical team and re-tasked the plane for medical evacuation. They left well ahead of schedule to join a fleet of Australian aircraft in Darwin also engaged in aid to Bali.”

“En route from Darwin to Bali, transporting a team of Australian police, the crew discovered that one of the window panels in the C130 Hercules was developing signs of delamination. They returned to Darwin to seek engineering advice.

“Upon their return, the flight crew was advised that, in keeping with flying hour limits, they would be stood down to rest. The operations commander in Darwin tasked another aircraft to complete the original mission. The RNZAF C130 has been re-tasked.

Mark Burton said he was impressed with the crew’s decision to make the safety of the mission paramount.

“There is no question that much of our defence equipment is in need of an upgrade or replacement. The nineties was a decade of neglect.”

“That’s why this Government has made a clear commitment to re-equipping our forces, including our air transport capacity. We have already completed a life-of-type study on our C130 fleet, and Defence is well advanced on bringing forward options for replacing the 727’s. I expect to take a paper to Cabinet reflecting those options in December of this year.”

Mark Burton noted with disappointment, however, the “petty political point-scoring and ill-informed comments” expressed by ACT Deputy Leader Ken Shirley.

“What happened in Bali is so tragic, it’s appalling that anyone would attempt to use it for cheap political gain. Most New Zealanders would expect better from their political representatives.”

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