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Burton's Retraction - Need For Decent Inquiry

Burton's Retraction Highlights Need For Decent Inquiry

Wednesday, September 19 2001

The retraction by the Minister of Defence Mark Burton in the House this afternoon over his earlier insistence that the Auditor General supported the purchase of 105 LAVIIIs is a further indication of this Minister's incompetence and lack of leadership, ACT Defence Spokesman Owen Jennings said today.

"The Minister persisted in using the Auditor General to combat criticisms from ACT New Zealand that the LAVIII purchase was not favoured by the Chief of Defence Force and the Secretary of Defence, the Government's top advisers on defence issues.

"This continued misuse of the Auditor General's report prevented proper debate in the House on these issues. It further reinforces the need for one full, public inquiry into the continuing problems faced by the Defence Forces, at a time when most New Zealanders feel vulnerable.

"The Minister's trite approach to his retraction overlooks the fact that he persisted to misuse the facts from the highest audit office in the land," Owen Jennings said.

Ends

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