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The Mapp Report

The Mapp Report

Auditor-General Slams Defence Acquisition Procedures

Critical report
Yesterday, the Auditor-General released his report on Defence acquisition contracts. He didn’t mince his words. This is a Ministry with serious problems. The problems are so serious the Auditor-General could not even complete his audit. The full range of documents supporting the procurement contracts simply do not exist.

The Auditor-General, Kevin Brady, said “my staff were unable to complete the audit as originally intended. A lot of detailed information that I expected the defence agencies to have was not readily available.” The auditors have done what they could.

Billion dollar contracts
The contracts involve $2.39 billion, the largest capital acquisitions that the government makes. In every case, the capabilities are delivered late, sometimes as much as four years. Many exceeded their original budget. The most extreme case has been the helicopter contracts. They increased from an original estimate of between $400 million to $550 million, to a staggering $910 million.

The Ministry of Defence admitted they only make an “intelligent guess” as to the likely cost. Such an approach is clearly an unsatisfactory approach to the expenditure of taxpayers’ money.

Poor performance?
Predictably, the Minister of Defence tried to minimise the report, saying the Auditor-General had not asserted “poor performance”. Well, maybe he didn’t use the actual words, but that is only because he couldn’t actually measure performance in the first place because the Ministry’s performance was so bad he had to abandon his audit!

Doing better
With a government in its third term, there has been substantial time for the procurement systems within the Ministry of Defence to have been sorted out. Labour has failed to do so.

A White Paper
National has promised a White Paper on Defence, if elected to government. A central feature of the White Paper would be sorting out procurement. National knows both the Defence Forces and taxpayers deserve better.


Last Friday I visited the Manukau Urban Maori Authority at Waatea Marae in Mangere. They are at the hard edge of urban poverty. June Jackson (well known leader in South Auckland), has a fundamental message, and that is - building self reliance and self respect.

It’s a tough job with many South Auckland youth and young families facing challenging situations on a daily basis. But, through the efforts of organisations such as this, it is the only way for them to break out of the crime and poverty cycle. 27 June 2008



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