$100m here, a $100m there…meh says Brownlee

Big Gerry Brownlee seems quite flippant about a serious budget blowout of more than $100m.

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee has defended a $100 million blowout in the cost to upgrade the navy’s two frigates.

The Defence Force is in the process of upgrading the combat management systems, radars and sensors, and replacing the self-defence missile systems, on both the HMNZS Te Kaha and the HMNZS Te Mana.

It was originally budgeted to cost between $354m and $374m, but Labour MP Phil Goff says it’s now expected to cost close to $473m.

Mr Goff also said the upgrade work won’t now be completed until March 2019 – 13 months later than planned.

He sought an explanation from Mr Brownlee when he fronted up to Parliament’s foreign affairs, defence and trade select committee on Thursday.   Read more »


Continuing friction between Brownlee and Defence Force

Gerry Brownlee 1200

If Gerry Brownlee thought the trickle of leaks in Defence was bad, wait until the troops find out what he has been saying about the Defence Force.

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee is less than impressed with the advice provided to him by his ministry and the defence force, giving them barely pass marks.

Mr Brownlee rated his satisfaction with the advice he received from both agencies at just 50 per cent, according to their latest annual reports.

The target is at least 90 per cent.

Vice-Chief of the Defence Force Air Vice-Marshal Kevin Short told parliament’s foreign affairs, defence and trade select committee Mr Brownlee had problems with the quality and timeliness of the advice he was receiving.

When Mr Brownlee took over the defence portfolio from his predecessor Jonathan Coleman, the defence force had to change the way it did things, Mr Short said.

“We were just dealing with Minister Brownlee as we had before, it’s not his style so we hadn’t adapted to that,” Mr Short told reporters after his appearance before the select committee.   Read more »


It’s okay when the French do it

There are logical actions and reactions. This post is to demonstrate that logic is not applied equally across the board to all countries. What I propose to show you is that when France or indeed any Western country does these kind of things, the World applauds and supports their actions but when Israel reacts in EXACTLY the same way they are condemned.

Considering that Israel is the West’s most valuable ally in the fight against Islamic terrorism this terrible double standard needs to stop. Quite frankly where does much of Europe and America, Australia and New Zealand, get off criticising Israel for what their countries would do in a heartbeat when in the exact same situation?

Read more »

Gerry’s off to China to talk defence. Hope the Chinese like a laugh

Gerry Brownlee can find his way to Devonport Naval base but so far has not managed to find Papakura Base.

Gerry Brownlee can find his way to a Chinese military base but so far has not managed to find Papakura Base.

Gerry Brownlee hasn’t got time to visit our best troops in Papakura, despite there being dozens of flights a day between Wellington and Auckland, and despite his recent visit to Auckland to go to the Devonport naval base.

But he does have time to visit Chinese troops.

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee is off to China a week after Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Associate Trade Minister Todd McClay visited that country.

Mr Brownlee, who leaves on Saturday, will visit Beijing where he will give a speech to the National Defence University and call on General Fan Changlong, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission.    Read more »


“Refugees” attacked in Finland

Photo: Reuters

Photo: Reuters

As you can see from the photo above, the refugees are families, women, children, elderly and infirm.

Oh no… wait.  Healthy looking men.


Finland’s government has condemned a racist protest in which demonstrators – including one dressed in a Ku Klux Klan outfit – attacked a bus transporting asylum seekers. Read more »


Another problem the UK has that’s on its way here

This group appeared out of nowhere and swamped the road around our coach. They left us alone but broke into the trucks to steal and try and stow away over the border. Watch the guy in the backpack!  –  Jenny NZ

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Hong Kong, Macau and China are all China, yet you need a passport to travel between them

Don’t mess with little girls with dogs


The Huddle at 1740


I am on The Huddle tonight with host Susan Wood and Josie Pagani.

First up we’ve got the “chan ban” and Labour’s policy of clamping down on foreign ownership of property.   Read more »

Photo of the Day

Excess water and salt on deck can lead to slipping hazards as well as accelerated rusting of the deck and equipment affixed to it. Ordinary seamen often bear the brunt of the swabbing duties, and many look forward to earning their able seaman’s ticket and being done with swabbing.  — Wikipedia

via The Brigade