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Time for Minister to come clean on Skyhawks

Simon Power
National Defence Spokesman

30 July 2004

Time for Minister to come clean on Skyhawks' future

It is time for the Defence Minister to come clean on his plans on the future of the Skyhawks, says National's Defence spokesman, Simon Power.

"By mothballing the last operational Skyhawk, the Minister is effectively ruining all chances of selling the Skyhawks for anything other than scrap metal."

The soon-to-be retired Skyhawk will be placed in storage with the other 16 Skyhawks, which stopped flying when the Air Force's combat wing was disbanded three years ago.

Mr Power says Labour's dismantling of the Air Force strike wing has been a fiasco from the start.

"You have to seriously question the Government's foresight when, three years on from disbanding the combat wing, the aircraft are sitting in storage gathering dust while the taxpayer foots an ever increasing bill."

Answers to parliamentary questions show that the Government has contracted Ernst and Young for $400,000 to sell the aircraft, and it is costing $320,000 every month the aircraft are in storage.

Ends

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