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Skyhawk sale done and dusted – yeah, right

Wayne Mapp MP
National Party Defence Spokesman

13 December 2007

Skyhawk sale done and dusted – yeah, right

The ongoing Skyhawk sale fiasco looks set to make history as one of the most embarrassing and costly blunders of this Labour Government, says National’s Defence spokesman, Wayne Mapp.

“After all the hoopla surrounding the announcement of the sale by then Defence Minister Mark Burton prior to the 2005 election, all we’ve seen is delay after delay, and a ‘deal’ mired in obfuscation.

“Labour wants to forget that it has spent around $1.5 million of taxpayers’ money on sales agents and lawyers for a sale which still hasn’t occurred, and that $12 million has been spent on housing and maintaining the aircraft.

“The only recent development in this sorry saga is the fleet’s $94,000 latex coating to enable it to be shifted outside Woodbourne air base to free up hangar space.

“Helen Clark proclaimed in September 2005 that ‘negotiations have gone very well and that officials have been able to conclude a heads of agreement’, and after announcing the Government had a buyer prepared to pay $155 million, Mark Burton said ‘it’s not a bad price for planes that were beyond any operational capability’.

“Both gave the clear impression the sale was done and dusted, but it is becoming increasingly evident that is far from the truth.

“Labour can’t keep placing the blame for this shambles at the feet of the US State Department. There are clearly other issues swirling around preventing the deal being closed.

“It’s time the Government revealed what’s really going on and admitted this debacle is of its own doing.”


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