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Burton goes for a Burton Over LAVIII Deployment

Burton goes for a Burton Over LAVIII Deployment

Thursday, August 16 2001
Rodney Hide Press Releases -- Governance & Constitution

ACT MP Rodney Hide today accused Defence Minister Mark Burton of misleading Parliament with his response to the usefulness of the army's proposed new LAV III vehicles in East Timor.

"I asked the Minister a written question about how the to be purchased LAVIIIs would have been used to support the troops involved in the East Timor fire-fight in which the New Zealand private was killed last year, given the terrain in which the fire-fight occurred.

"In his detailed response, the Minister said that in the East Timor terrain where the Private Manning was killed, the proposed new LAV III "would not have been far behind the patrol conducting the tracking", "would always have been on immediate notice to come forward", that "when the foot patrol came into contact with militia personnel, the LAV would have immediately been activated" and that "The noise of the vehicle moving to the site might have caused the opposing group to withdraw".

"That answer also said that the day after the fire-fight, New Zealand personnel using the current armoured carriers were able to move within 30 metres of where the patrol had been contacted.

"The Minister tabled this answer to me in Parliament on July 18.

I have now learned through an Official Information request to the Chief of Defence Carey Adamson that the Minister based his answer on a the draft response prepared by the Army but not signed off by the Chief of Defence. This answer was forwarded to the Minister's office on the on July 10 but withdrawn on 11 July and the Minister's office was informed that the answer was wrong.

"The subsequent answer signed off by the Chief of Defence flatly contradicted the first draft response, and said that "Because of the rugged nature of the terrain in the immediate area where the fire-fight occurred, it would not have been practicable for the LAVIIIs to have been used. There was no realistic alternative to moving on foot."

"Yet, five days later the Minister tabled an answer based on the fanciful first response ' after he had received a completely different answer from the Chief of Defence.

"The Minister has a great deal of explaining to do. It's no wonder he didn't turn up in the House today to take my question.

"He needs to explain why he didn't give a correct answer when the Chief of Defence had advised him that it was wrong. And he needs to explain why he is buying 105 LAVIIIs that couldn't support our troops when they are needed when the old clapped out MII3 could," Rodney Hide said.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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