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Govt Spending Fortune On Planes That Don't Fly

Simon Power

National Defence Spokesperson

23rd March 2003

Govt spending fortune on planes that don't fly

The cost of storing and maintaining New Zealand's dismantled air combat wing has risen to $350,000 a month, according to figures obtained by National's Defence spokesperson Simon Power.

"It is absolutely farcical that taxpayers are being forced to shell out $3.8 million a year for Skyhawk and Aermacchi planes that aren't even being used.

"It is a slap in the face for members of the air force who have been waiting years for the upgrade of aircraft like the Orions and Hercules.

"Labour's decision to scrap the air combat wing was hugely unpopular, and now the full cost is being revealed.

"The decision was made at a time when the Prime Minister claimed we live in a 'benign strategic environment'. Our defence forces are now paying the price for that blunder.

"It is a massive waste of money to be spending a fortune on keeping these planes inactive when we live in such uncertain times," said Mr Power


*Attached: Parliamentary question 01240

To: Simon Power Subject: PQ has been released: 01240 (2003) - Power Simon - Due Date: 17/03/2003 13:11:05 Auto forwarded by a Rule

Question: Further to his reply to written question No 11332 (2002), has the monthly cost of maintaining and storing the decommissioned Skyhawks and Aermacchi jet trainers while they are awaiting sale increased since he provided that answer; if so, how much has it increased and why?

Portfolio: Minister of Defence Minister: Hon Mark Burton Date Lodged: 7/03/2003 13:00:21

Answer Text: The average monthly cost of maintaining and storing the decommissioned Skyhawk and Aermacchi aircraft has risen to approximately $350,000 per month because of additional maintenance necessary to prevent degradation of the aircraft during storage.

If there is no prior sale, an average monthly cost of approximately $320,000 per month is forecast for the full financial year to 30 June 2003. Attachment: None

Date Received: 19/03/2003 13:44:34

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