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Brownlee Picked a Loser by Selling Iroquois Overseas

Rt Hon Winston Peters

New Zealand First Leader

Member of Parliament for Northland
24 SEPTEMBER 2015

Brownlee Picked a Loser by Selling Iroquois Overseas

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee thought of giving away the RNZAF Iroquois helicopters, but then decided on a loss-making sale to the US, says New Zealand First.

“The government has blundered by letting this workhorse that has served us so well be sold to a US parts company,” says New Zealand First Leader and Member of Parliament for Northland Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“Simple maths show that the copters, even as parts, would have brought substantial returns to a Kiwi business.

“The aircraft were bought and maintained with taxpayer money and have now been sold for little, probably under $5 million. The American firm got a bargain, but now New Zealand helicopters firms will have to pay exorbitant amounts to buy the parts.

“Instead of ignoring the Kiwi interest in the helicopters and the future economic benefit Mr Brownlee should have offered them to Kiwi companies. There were about 15 parties at the viewing at Ohakea, and at least five put in a bid, one for $4.5 million.

“There were jobs and increased business producing economic advantage to the regions by keeping the Iroquois here. The overall total benefit would have far superior to the price the US company paid, under $5m.

One company said it “would have been fabulous for a Kiwi firm” to be the new owner. The reality was that a US company taking advantage of a good exchange rate got them cheap.

“This sale was tunnel vision in the extreme and lost opportunity for future economic benefit.”

ENDS


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