The NZ Herald editorial explores yet another legacy of the idiot Phil Goff from when he was Defence Minister.
Nine years ago, the decision to buy eight NH90 helicopters for the air force was accompanied by considerable fanfare. The French-made multi-purpose choppers would, said the Defence Minister, Phil Goff, be bigger, faster, more versatile and have a far greater lift capability than the ageing Iroquois they were replacing. Such acclaim was only to be expected given that they represented the biggest single defence purchase since the navy’s two Anzac frigates in the 1980s. The NH90s cost $771 million, a sum which demanded everything should be done to ensure they met Defence Force requirements for military deployment and disaster relief.
Clearly, this was not done to an acceptable standard. Cyclone-hit Vanuatu has proved as much. None of the NH90s have been taken up there because they are considered too difficult to transport and are not yet cleared for “island-hopping”. In addition, the air force is concerned about how the helicopters would cope with “wind-wash” in the islands. So much for Mr Goff’s assurance that the multi-role ship Canterbury, now in Vanuatu, had the capacity to carry up to four NH90s, along with a Seasprite helicopter, light armoured vehicles and 250 soldiers.