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NZ First Warned Govt Against LAV Purchase

Media Release
08 February 2005

NZ First Warned Govt Against LAV Purchase

New Zealand First defence spokesperson Ron Mark says he warned the Government as early as 2000 against the purchase of 105 light armoured vehicles for the New Zealand Army.

“The $677 million acquisition of these vehicles has proven to be an absolute financial blow-out.

“Had there been an independent review of this acquisition like New Zealand First suggested from the outset, we would not be in this position,” said Mr Mark.

“The Government ignored the Secretary of Defence’s recommendations to buy only half the number they acquired and the Prime Minister herself ignored a letter I wrote to her in August 2000 advising against the purchase.

“The Auditor-General’s report states clearly that the LAV project has faced funding and personnel shortfalls. On top of this the Army’s current plan for using the LAVs is significantly different to that originally put to Cabinet.

“It is obvious that the purchase was based on inadequate planning and a completely inaccurate assessment of the need for the vehicles.

“New Zealand First always doubted whether the Defence Force had the ability and the resources to raise and maintain two motorised battalions in the first place, let alone support and sustain them,” said Mr Mark.

ENDS

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