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Richard's Rant A Fantasy Story

"Richard Prebble's vivid imagination has got away on him – he's managed to produce a media statement that is devoid of any facts whatsoever."

Defence Minister Mark Burton said the Act leader's statement on light armoured vehicles was a sorry and sad piece of fiction.

"Mr Prebble claims to be quoting from a draft report from the Auditor-General - I am advised today that such a document has not yet been delivered.

"The Auditor-General was asked by the Secretary of Defence to review the tender processes for light armoured vehicles and light operational vehicles. Both processes were initiated under the previous Government. The Auditor-General is still preparing his draft report.

"The LAV3s are not costing $8 million each.

"In January, the government signed a contract with General Motors Canada for delivery of 105 LAV3s in 2003-2004. The cost of just the 105 vehicles, prepared and ready for New Zealand use, was $483 million. The overall project cost, including infrastructure, training, simulators, specialist tools, extensive spare parts, additional armour and ammunition, and GST, was $652 million.

"The New Zealand Army does have sufficient personnel to use the vehicles. 105 is the minimum number of vehicles needed to motorise both army battalions.

"The LAV3s are not difficult to transport – by road, by plane or ship – and they could be used in places like East Timor.

"As I've noted, sufficient spares have been purchased. The garaging for the vehicles does not need special air-conditioning. The LAV3s themselves will be fitted with air-conditioning to maximise personnel operating efficiency and comfort when operating in tropical climates.

"The opposition have lost the plot on defence. Mr Prebble is making things up, while Max Bradford is attacking his former colleague Warren Cooper in a bitter argument over who is to blame for purchasing a lemon ship.

"Meantime, the government is concentrating on providing our defence personnel with the modern equipment they need to do their jobs," Mark Burton said.

Ends

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