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Minister must come clean on 757 breakdowns

Minister must come clean on 757 breakdowns

National Party Defence spokesman John Carter says the Labour Government is embarrassed about the latest breakdown of its newest air force planes.

“Labour thought they would be able to hide the ongoing problems with these 757s until after the election, but the cat has been let out of the bag.”

Mr Carter is referring to weekend reports where it was confirmed the Government is having major difficulties keeping the 757s that arrived two years ago in the air.

Last year a 757 was grounded with engine problems in Nadi after dropping Prime Minister Helen Clark off at the Pacific Forum in Samoa.

Now, it has been suggested that one of the 757s has been stripped of its good engine and is grounded at Whenuapai. That engine’s been flown to the US to repair another of the 757s which has also broken down.

“The Labour Government is responsible for this. Labour opted to buy aircraft with reconditioned Rolls Royce engines, they purchased them knowing they could not be serviced in New Zealand, and then they opted not to take a total care package, that would have covered servicing.

“It bungled the purchase of the Pinzgauers, there are huge difficulties with the Project Protector contract, and now there are difficulties with the 757s.

“Quite separately from the obvious embarrassment this is causing our defence forces, this is all costing huge amounts of taxpayer money. Reports last night put the cost to repair the 757s at up to $8 million,” says Mr Carter.


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