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Government Dishonesty Over Skyhawks Continues

Government Dishonesty Over Skyhawks Continues

Otago candidate for Democrats for Social Credit, Richard Prosser, says the Government is still misleading the people of New Zealand over the disbandment of the RNZAF Combat Wing, and accuses the Labour-led coalition of lacking the moral courage to be honest about its pacifist intentions.

Speaking from Alexandra, Mr Prosser, a defence commentator and outspoken critic of Government defence policy, said that Helen Clark’s administration had never been concerned about the truth where the Air Combat Force was concerned.

“They had their agenda already planned when they took office in 1999,” said Mr Prosser. “They ignored all expert advice about retaining the ACF, including the advice they had commissioned themselves, and they ignored the wishes of the 73% of New Zealanders who wanted to keep the Skyhawks.”

“This Labour-led Government mislead the public over the capabilities of the Skyhawk fleet and the cost of running it, they lied about the amount of time it spent exercising with the Army and Navy, and they grossly misrepresented the costs associated with the F-16 lease deal,” said Mr Prosser.

“Now we learn that the Warbirds Association, which has been invited to the upcoming Open Day at Whenuapai on April 9th, has been specifically asked not to bring any jet aircraft along,” he said. “This is the same Warbirds who were requested to provide retired jet fighter aircraft to assist with training for the Royal New Zealand Navy after the Combat Wing was disbanded, because there was no alternative available. Labour is trying to save face by keeping them away.”

“Close to $100 million worth of state-of-the-art aeroplanes are sitting unused and unsold in a hangar, because the Government still hasn’t been able to find a suitable buyer,” said Mr Prosser. “The electronics and weapons systems in these aircraft – which the Prime Minister referred to as ‘clapped-out’ - are so advanced that their sale has to be approved by the US Government. At the same time, our Government is refusing to deny rumours that they may be cut up for scrap.”

“Helen Clark should be big enough to admit her mistake, and get these aircraft flying again,” Mr Prosser said.

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