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Fast Fix For Defence Force Needed From The Government

Richard Prosser MP
Associate Spokesperson for Defence
26 February 2013

Fast Fix For Defence Force Needed From The Government

New Zealand First says the Government must take quick, decisive action over problems facing the Defence Force after revelations that the Navy has had to can its Antarctic fisheries patrols because its ships are not up to the task.

Associate Defence Spokesman Richard Prosser says the criteria for the ships acquired under the previous Labour administration’s Project Protector programme was flawed from the start.

“They bought grey-painted civilian ships built down to a price instead of recognised naval vessels built up to a specification. The folly of that has become undeniable.

“This National-led Government has been as culpable as it predecessor in refusing to recognise the obvious shortcomings in the approach which has been taken, and the responsibility falls to John Key’s cabinet to remedy the situation – and fast.

“It is beyond ridiculous that our Navy cannot patrol our fisheries or perform search and rescue, let alone defend the nation, because its ships can’t handle the conditions in the Southern Ocean.”

Mr Prosser says the Government must act quickly to replace the Offshore Patrol vessels and the rest of the Project Protector fleet with suitable ships as identified by the Navy a decade ago.

“Morale is so low and attrition so high that half the patrol fleet can’t even be put to sea. And now we can neither protect our interests nor fulfil our international obligations because our vessels lack essential capabilities.

“The Government needs to restore adequate funding, a breadth of capabilities, and a credible military focus to the NZDF,” says Mr Prosser.

ENDS

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