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Helicopter repair costs $7.4 million

Helicopter repair costs $7.4 million

The cost to repair the brand new $35 million Royal New Zealand Navy SH-2G Seasprite helicopter damaged in a crash February 2002 is millions of dollars more than originally thought, says National Party Defence spokesperson Simon Power.

"The initial estimate of the cost of repairs was around $2 million. Then in October last year it was stated that the repair may not be as big as first thought.

"However, in answers to parliamentary questions, the Minister of Defence has now stated the estimated cost of repairs is $7.4 million.

"On top of that, the repairs have not yet started, and are not expected to be completed until September this year. That is 19 months with a fifth of the Navy's helicopter fleet on the ground.

"Serious questions need to be asked about these delays. The longer an aircraft is out of service, the longer the pressure remains on the remaining aircraft and crews to fill in the gap," says Mr Power.

"These helicopters fulfil a vital role in the protection of New Zealand's interests. They must be "on-deck" and in flying condition. A 19 month delay is not acceptable," says Simon Power.

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