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Skyhawk non-sale a $10m shambles

John Carter MP
National Defence spokesman 2 September 2004

Skyhawk non-sale a $10m shambles

The failure of the Labour Government to sell the mothballed Skyhawks and Aermacchi jet trainers has become a very expensive shambles, says National's Defence spokesman, John Carter.

"The cost of preparing the sales process and maintaining the 17 Skyhawks and 17 Aermacchis has rocketed to almost $10 million over three years - and they still may not be sold," says Mr Carter.

He is commenting on information from Defence Minister Mark Burton which shows that up till the end of March, Ernst and Young have been paid $677,145 in disbursements, on top of their initial $400,000 fee for attempting to sell the aircraft.

"Add to that the $8.76 million to maintain and store them - which rises by $320,000 for every month they are not sold - and you have a colossal waste of taxpayer money.

"Quite honestly, we would have been better off keeping an air strike force and having the ability to defend New Zealand rather than following the peacenik attitude of this minister and the Prime Minister," Mr Carter says.

Ends

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