Royal New Zealand Air Force

Another Labour Defense stuff up

Stuff.co.nz

Labour bollocks-ed up Defence like no other government in history. They destroyed capacity and wasted vast sums of money on bleeding edge and inappropriate technology.

Now it has been revealed that Phil Goff’s last big purchase the NH-90 helicopters are duds just like the LAVIIIs. Once again some consultant got a big fat brown envelope and the REMFs have delivered a crap, over-prices white elephant to the frontline troops.

Eight new airforce helicopters, worth more than $700 million, have a serious flaw that even when fixed will prevent use in snowy conditions.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force is the first military force to use the high technology NH-90s, winning criticism from Auditor-General Lyn Provost who says this country should not be buying “first of type” equipment.

Her comments came in a Defence Force report published on its website this week dealing with the military’s major projects.

The report also reveals that the P3 Orion $373-million upgrade project has hit problems again with the air force purchasing an “as is” used flight deck simulator that is not compatible with the new planes.

The NH-90s were ordered in 2006 by then Defence Minister Phil Goff to replace the air force’s Vietnam War era Iroquois helicopters.

Provost says in her report that no other airforce was using them when they were commissioned although she said 16 countries now have orders in for 500 NH-90s.

“The NH-90 was to be capable of being quickly deployed in a C130 Hercules aircraft,” she said.

But it cannot currently and Defence is “looking at other transport options”.

These include the helicopters flying themselves all the way across the Pacific if they can be refuelled, or going aboard the navy multi role ship HMNZS Canterbury – but only in certain safe sea state conditions.

The only aircraft available that can fly them anywhere are the ex-Soviet Union Antonov-124 transporter.

Other risks are present, including the NH 90 being “prone to damage” from debris drawn into the engines.

“To mitigate this risk, NHIndustries is to supply screens that can be fitted to the engines.”

Provost says once the screens are fitted, the helicopters will not be able to operate in snowy conditions.

Skyhawks sold

National has done what Labour failed to do despite three separate announcements over two election cycles, they have sold the Skyhawks:

Defence Minister Wayne Mapp has announced that a United States company, JDI Holdings, is going to buy the eight remaining Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) retired Skyhawk fighters.

“I am also announcing today that Aermacchis and Strikemasters no longer needed by the RNZAF will go to aviation museums around New Zealand,” said Dr Mapp.

“The Skyhawks, Aermacchis and Strikemasters are an important part of New Zealand’s aviation history and they will make fine exhibits in our aviation museums.”

Dr Mapp said agreement has been reached on a $7.9 million purchase price for the eight Skyhawks including engines and spare parts. The deal depends on approval from the US State Department.

“This is the resolution of what has been a long process,” said Dr Mapp. It is expected that JDI Holdings – which intends to fly the Skyhawks – will take delivery of the planes within six months.

Presumably this would be one of the assets that Labour wouldn’t sell under their new policy.

Labour and their faux outrage

Labour are playing out attacks on John Key for using a helicopter to avoid 3 hour traffic jams. Trevor Mallard is playing it up the most and he is being a bit silly.

Kerre Woodham lambasts Labour for their pettiness and rightly so especially over transport arrangements for the Prime Minister. It was while I was researching my previous post that I came across this:

The trans-Tasman anger was enormous. At one stage, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, on her way back to New Zealand from the Middle East, found her aircraft blockaded on the Melbourne airport tarmac by laid-off Ansett workers, who refused to allow the jet to take off. Eventually, an RNZAF Orion maritime reconnaissance aircraft had to be sent to fetch her.

It shows an appalling hypocrisy from Labour when their own leader summonsed a plane across the Tasman to rescue her from picketing Ansett workers. John Key could have probably made 1000 flights between Auckland and Hamilton before he even came close to the cost of a full crew, presumably a back up crew and an Orion and fuel to save a feckless Prime Minister stuck in a picket at Melbourne airport.

If that wasn’t so bad the news reports show an even worse position for Labour and Helen Clark.

A group of Ansett’s aircraft loaders had turned up at Melbourne airport for the early shift, but when they heard the news, they used heavy moving equipment to blockade an Air New Zealand plane in protest.

They didn’t know it but Helen Clark was supposed to be boarding that plane to fly back to New Zealand from a trip to Europe. Instead she was trapped at Melbourne airport for five hours.

In a day of high farce, Victoria police eventually came to the rescue, airlifting Ms Clark from the airport in a helicopter just before lunch.

Using a police helicopter to save yourself from embarrassment. But wait it gets worse:

Helen Clark was flown out in the end on an [RNZAF] Orion – sent over by Acting Prime Minister Jim Anderton. He said he’d acted as a sovereign state to defend our Prime Minister, and accused the Ansett workers of criminal acts. Ms Clark said she was disturbed by Australian Kiwi bashing which she described as absolutely unreasonable.

I’ll tell you what is unreasonable…exactly what Kerre Woodham describes:

A prime minister going by helicopter to an engagement is probably a better option than being in a speeding motorcade and hanging your driver out to dry when you’re found out – as history would note.

Worse when that same Prime Minister who hung out her staff called upon the air force to save her at huge expense in Melbourne. If you are going to point the finger make very sure that your side is squeaky clean before you do.

UPDATE: Of course there was also this incident when Clark wanted to make it to Grey power meeting:

The Prime Minister commandeered an Air Force plane to whisk her to an appointment with Grey Power in Invercargill yesterday.

High winds closed Wellington airport and like hundreds of others, Helen Clark could not get a commercial flight out. Her office made a phone call to Defence Force headquarters, and she was driven up to Ohakea air base where a seven-seater King Air plane was waiting.

She was flown south to keep her appointment – a speech to Grey Power Southland at the Invercargill Workingmen’s Club.

Arriving an hour-an-a-half late, the Prime Minister was warmly received by the 150-strong crowd who had waited patiently.

Not only commandeering a flight but also a massive drive from Wellington to Ohakea, presumably at great speed. Labour really do look silly now.

Nice to have?

Thanks to Bill English and the PSA handily focussing on things that are “nice to have”, we can look with a critical eye over things like the Royal NZ Ballet.

Once it was bullets and bombs – now the Royal New Zealand Air Force is flying in supplies of tutus and tights.

In a first for the air force and the Royal New Zealand Ballet, all of the ballet company’s sets, costumes and other essential material for its European tour in July will be flown for free to Britain.

The air force also offered to fly some of the 39 dancers and support staff for free, but this was turned down. Instead, the Royal NZ Ballet will fly to Britain in early July with Qantas on discounted economy class tickets.

Why are we subsidising our Ballet to dance for non-New Zealand tax payers? Surely our air force has better things to do that fly taxpayer subsidised liberal elite dancers to the UK. Is it really appropriate too that taxpayer funds are being spent on an airline that has demonstrated its unwillingness to be mates over Christchurch. Qantas aren’t our Mates, they shouldn’t get any money from taxpayers spent on them at all.

I wonder if they are OIAable and if they can tell us how much each pommy bastard is going to pay for his or her ticket, and how much the New Zealand tax payer is subsidising per ticket.

Some poor old granny in Christchurch is probably having to use a chemical toilet because we can’t afford extra people in to fix the sewerage system, but it is ok because we are giving poms cheap seats to the ballet.

I think the Royal New Zealand ballet are certainly one of things that are “nice to have” but given the squeezed financial situation our country is in one of the things that can certainly be chopped out.

Lucky Kris was there

Three boys in an aluminium dinghy drifted 1300 kilometres across the South Pacific, resorting to drinking seawater and devouring a seagull to survive.

On Wednesday, a New Zealand fishing boat in a lonely part of the ocean spotted the tiny boat carrying the three Tokelauans who were thought lost forever.

They had eaten just one seagull in 50 days adrift.

“We got to them in a miracle,” first mate Tai Fredricsen of the Bay of Islands said from the Sanford tuna boat San Nikunau yesterday as it headed to Fiji with its extra cargo.

The boys, Samuel Perez and Filo Filo, both 15, and Edward Nasau, 14, had disappeared from Atafu Island on October 5. An extensive search by a RNZAF Orion failed to find any trace of them.

All I can say is that they were lucky fellow Tokelauan Kris Fa’afoi was there to help rescue them. I bet they are looking forward to a feed of McDonalds.

Kris Fa'afoi at the rescue of 3 Tokelauans