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Jones tribute to navy veterans at Pukaki naming

Jones pays tribute to navy veterans at Pukaki naming



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Navy Inshore Patrol Vessel Rotoiti moored in Whangarei

Hon Shane Jones
Minister for Building and Construction
Associate Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations
Associate Minister of Immigration
Associate Minister of Trade

Date: 11 May 2008 Media Statement

Jones pays tribute to navy veterans at Pukaki naming

Building and Construction Minister Shane Jones paid tribute to attending Navy veterans at the naming and commissioning of the third Inshore Patrol Vessel (IPV), the Pukaki, at Whangarei yesterday.

“These men were unflinching in the face of duty and it is only when you talk to them do you truly understand and appreciate some of the horrors they faced and fought,” Mr Jones said, while standing in for Defence Minister Phil Goff at the naming of the boat.
“I was pleased to meet them, especially someone like Leon D. Flavell from Dargaville who served on the frigate Pukaki (LOCH Class) in the 1950s.

“It was deeply touching to hear that he was on the deck when the Pukaki went to Christmas Island (now Kiribati) in 1957 and witnessed the British nuclear bomb trial which left so many sailors from that time riddled with radiation.”

The 74-year-old veteran, Mr Flavell, who served four decades in the navy said he and others witnessed: “A bright flash and the mushroom cloud with nothing more than mutton cloth protection”.

“We thought nothing of it at the time, but so many came home and had children with deformities, and many who were there died from all sorts of complications,” Mr Flavell of Ngati Ririki told Mr Jones.

“We did as we were ordered, we served our country and our navy and we’re still proud of that service,” the veteran who also served in Malaya and Korea said.

Mr Flavell said he was delighted at the look of the new 55-metre IPVs which can carry 24 staff and have room for 12 more personnel, can range in excess of 3,000 miles with a top speed of 25knots.

“These are just beautiful craft, they are far superior to the (Lake Class) Patrol boats of the 1970’s and 80s, and the navy will be proud of them,” he said.

Mr Jones said with Rotoiti ready to be handed over to the navy after sea trials, Hawea currently in the process of trials, Pukaki having been named and the Taupo currently being fitted out at the Tenix yards in Whangarei, New Zealand was looking at a strategically better suited navy for the future.

“We’ve already got the Canterbury, and our two new Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) Otago and Wellington will complement the four IPVs under the Project Protector programme that this Labour-led Government is delivering.”

The Pukaki will be based at Devonport, Auckland but will have a strong affiliation with Nelson where she is likely to spend a lot of her time.


ENDS

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