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Report proves LAV purchase a disaster

February 2005
John Carter National Party Defence Spokesman

Report proves LAV purchase a disaster

National's Defence spokesman, John Carter, says the Defence Force's $677 million purchase of 105 light armoured vehicles has been proven to be an ill-advised decision and a big waste of taxpayers' money.

He is commenting on a report of the Controller and Auditor-General on the acquisition and introduction of the LAVs.

"The report shows that the Army is still two years from having enough trained personnel to man the entire LAV fleet, and that is even after the temporary dismantling of an entire infantry company and maintaining the Army's reconnaissance skills at the minimum level.

"All of this on top of acknowledged recruitment and retention issues.

"Clearly, Labour allowed the Army to buy too many of these very expensive vehicles, contrary to most advice at the time.

"The report also shows that the original rationale on which Cabinet made its decision was very quickly changed by the Army and Defence Minister Mark Burton, but he failed to tell Cabinet.

"This is a major embarrassment for the Minister, and also comes at a time when a parliamentary select committee voiced concerns that the Ministry of Defence's acquisition division 'may not have sufficient capability and resources' to manage current projects.

"This brings into question all acquisition projects approved by this Minister..

"This was the Army's think-big project and it has sunk. I suggest the Minister should sink with it," Mr Carter says.

ENDS

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