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Explanation needed on Skyhawks so-called sale

Murray McCully MP
National Party Foreign Affairs, Trade & Defence Spokesman

19 September 2006

Explanation needed on Skyhawks so-called sale

National Party Defence spokesman Murray McCully is calling on the Defence Minister to provide a full explanation on the lack of progress with the sale of the Air Force Skyhawk and Aermacchis one year after the Government announced a successful sale.

“The deal is looking like pre-election window dressing, with no substance to back it up.”

Mr McCully says when the sale was announced two weeks before the last election, there was no hint of any uncertainty around the contract.

“The Minister of the time, Mr Burton, represented this as a solid commercial arrangement, with all of the US State Department clearances assured, and delivery of the planes to commence within months.

“Now, a year later, we know that there is still no State Department clearance, no deposit has been received and the proposed purchaser needs to find a new shareholder to fund the purchase. It would be hard to identify a more Mickey Mouse approach to doing business.

"The Government has now paid paid more than $1.5 million in fees to agents and lawyers for a sale that looks increasingly like it isn't happening, and the monthly bill to maintain the aircraft is running at $130,000 a month.

"What is becoming clear is that this was a completely trumped up sale announcement purely for electoral purposes.

“The Minister of the time has now been demonstrated to have been untruthful with the public.

“One year and no progress later I am calling on Mr Goff to provide the New Zealand public with the explanation they deserve," says Mr McCully.


ENDS

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