I usually stay clear of commenting on things military. My time in the sun is long gone and I am conscious that I am no longer up with the state of the play ... I far prefer to advocate on matters concerning Veterans and on which I have some small knowledge.
But the shambles of the on again, off again Skyhawk disposal that was Labour's legacy does deserve comment. Latest reports has the cost in the order of $145+ million and counting.
First Point. At the time Labour decided to scrap the air combat wing they were prevented from selling the fleet because of restrictions imposed by the US. That Labour was so out of favour with firstly the Bush Snr and the later Bill Clinton administrations this took years to work through by which time the value of the aircraft was diminishing by the day and remember always that 'She' had labelled the aircraft as "clapped out" (hardly a welcome endorsement for a potential buyer).
Second. And then Labour with a great fanfare announced that they has secured a deal with Tactical Air Services which went on and on and on and on .... and we well remember Phil Goff's breathless statement just before the 2006 election that it was a done deal and then it went on and on and on because it wasn't a done deal and never was.
Tactical Air Services is now revealed as a toothless tiger short of the readies. Sort of a company that would offer you the Sydney Harbour Bridge at a price and fail to deliver.
And all the while the poor old NZ taxpayer was picking up the tab for maintaining aircraft whose book value had been written down to zero.
Just how many hip operations can you buy for $145m and why did Labour ever really think Tactical Air Services would do the deal. So many questions and so few answers although I know I would never trust Phil G to organise a piss up in a brewery.
The Government has it about right in deciding to cut their losses and offer them up as museum pieces.
And as for those academic worthies who are calling for the Macchi jet trainers to be recommissioned as some sort of make believe. poor mans, strike force I say back to your Chardonnay quaffing. The Macchi are a trainer FFS ... with some well documented engine problems. And even if you were prepared to commit the hundreds of millions necessary to resurrect them then all you would be doing is training pilots to be poached by other air forces at the first opportunity.
I disagreed with the scrapping of the air combat force but it's a done deal with the support infrastructure long gone and you can't wind back the clock.
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