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Incompetent Burton blows the budget

John Carter

National Defence Spokesman

17 August 2004

Incompetent Burton blows the budget

A failure by the Defence Minister to go through the detail of the Tenix deal could see the defence budget blown to the tune of $45 million each year, says National's Defence spokesman, John Carter.

Papers released yesterday show that under pressure to sign the $500 million deal, the Government ignored the possibility of expenses that could push the defence force $45 million over budget each year.

"Burton saw the boats that he wanted and proceeded with the purchase regardless of warnings that up-keep costs were uncertain," says Mr Carter.

"Forty-five million dollars each year is a lot to be uncertain about.

"This kind of lax attitude to the spending of taxpayers money is becoming an all to frequent event under this Minister.

"The Skyhawks and Aermacchis are currently mothballing at $320,000 a month, with the total bill at $8 million and rising.

"The Minister needs to start taking some accountability for the murky transactions and goings on in his office.

"These kinds of incompetences from the Minister are putting the defence force in danger of being considered a joke by our allies, who already think we're not pulling our weight.

"This does nothing for our international reputation and New Zealand deserves better," says Mr Carter.


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