Govt defends costly aircraft purchase

Author
Newstalk ZB Staff,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Monday, 9 July 2018, 6:06PM
Defence Minister ROn Mark says the new planes are state of the art. (Photo / NZ Herald)

The sky's the limit it seems when it comes to the Government spend of almost $2.5 billion on four maritime surveillance aircraft.

The Boeing Poseidon aircraft will be bought from the United States Government, will be based at Ohakea, and will be in operation replacing the aging Orions by 2023.

Defence Minister Ron Mark says they're top of the range.

"The United States has poured in $9 billion worth of research into this. Essentially you're buying a 737 with different wings. It's 60 per cent of the cost of the aircraft of what's fitted inside of it's capability that you're delivering."

Mark says they're part of the Government's Pacific reset.

"This is a Government that's not afraid of making hard decisions, particularly those which are intergenerational in their effect. Previous Government put off the hard calls of defence procurement for far too long. It would be irresponsible of this Government to continue to kick that can down the road."

However, Ron Mark acknowledged plans for the aircraft were laid by the last Government.

"The Government has not made this decision lightly. We did not rubber stamp the former Government's homework. Maintaining maritime control capabilities is essential for New Zealand, national security, and for our ability to contribute to global security efforts."

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