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Labour delivers another lemon

Wayne Mapp MP
National Party Defence Spokesman

29 May 2008

Labour delivers another lemon

In Labour's indecent haste to appear as though it is being proactive in equipping the navy, it has served them up another lemon, says National's Defence spokesman, Wayne Mapp.

Dr Mapp is referring to the debacle surrounding the HMNZS Rotoiti - an in-shore patrol ship which is part of the problem-plagued Project Protector.

"This ship was due to be delivered to the Royal New Zealand Navy on January 31 last year, but due to a raft of safety issues, the navy is still waiting. Safety issues have, unfortunately, characterised the purchase of the seven Project Protector ships because of the rushed nature of the purchase."

Dr Mapp says answers to parliamentary questions reveal that Lloyds Register - a leading international expert on risk management incorporating ship safety and quality - raised serious questions about many aspects of the Rotoiti, meaning it failed to meet its service deadline.

"Lloyds refused to give final certification to the Rotoiti because it failed to meet all safety requirements.

"They said it needed an external sound system, an additional gyro compass, changes to the bridge equipment room (which included additional ventilation dampers, fire detection systems and suppression systems), changes to the casting of the propeller bracket, and several aspects of the ship's insulation.

"For Lloyds to have refused to let the Rotoiti go into service is very serious.

"Labour has taken short cuts with the majority of its navy acquisitions. Government-imposed deadlines have compromised safety of the ships and, more importantly, navy personnel. We have seen this with the HMNZS Canterbury, and now the Rotoiti.

"The Auditor-General is currently conducting an inquiry into the Project Protector contract under which these ships were purchased. Does this mean all seven ships are defective?

"This slack attitude towards the safety of navy ships, and, hence, personnel, is absolutely shameful. Our service men and women deserve better."

ENDS


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