Fails the sniff test: Gerry gets cornered making up policy

Gerry Brownlee appears to have been caught making shit up.

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee is being accused of making up plans on the spot to sell two of the Navy’s disused inshore patrol vessels.

He made the comments last month when Newshub probed him over why HMNZS Taupo and HMNZS Pukaki has not been to sea in years.

At the time he said they were surplus to requirements, will be sold under his watch, and should never have been purchased in the first place.

But while Mr Brownlee was announcing the sell-off publicly, there is nothing official showing he’s told the Finance Minister about the plans so it’s included in the upcoming Budget.

In a written Parliamentary question to Bill English, New Zealand First asked for all correspondence presented by Mr Brownlee for his defence Budget allocation, specifically on the disposal of HMNZS Taupo and Pukaki.

Mr English replied: “I have not received any correspondence on this matter”.


New Zealand First defence spokesman Ron Mark says it’s proof Mr Brownlee made up the sell-off policy on the hoof.

“Minister Brownlee hasn’t sent a single email, letter, memo, report, or even offered Mr English a briefing on his idea to sell HMNZS Taupo and Pukaki.

“If the Minister of Defence has been advocating for defence then it’s obviously not been with the guy who holds the purse strings,” he says.

Mr Brownlee rejects the claims entirely, saying it has been in the pipeline for years.

“You have to start with an idea and you socialise it throughout government. There’s nothing unusual about that.

“The process for disposal of military equipment is not a wake in the morning and say ‘right, we’re flicking that, go and put an ad in the paper,” he says.

He says the process will take some time, which will include the Government deciding whether they actually belong in the Defence Force.

“Then you’d enter into a disposal that would see you try and identify potential purchases and make those approaches. Of course Treasury would be involved in that process.”

He says work is in the “early stages” and they’re still figuring out where they’d best be disposed of and what they could sell it for.

Sounds like Gerry is making shit up.


– Newshub


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  • contractor

    English may just have answered the question as asked, namely what written correspondence has he received. So it is possible he knows about the plans, but that they are not concrete so why would he expand on the question at this time?

  • geoff2112

    Hardly earth shattering, shock horror news….the peasants don’t seem to be revolting…..

  • grannymorris

    Seems like there’s a move to transfer them to MPI, and develop Martyn Dunne’s dream of an independent ‘border security’ force combining the uniformed bits of MPI and Customs.

    A few armed IPVs would sit nicely with the MPI rhibs.

  • Grim

    The sell off has been discussed the last 2-3 years in various international defense forums, including a recent one in Welly I think. The plan is to sell 2 x IPVs (inshore) and buy a third OPV (Offshore) to replace them. Brownlee seems to be fudging his way through the Defense portfolio. I wish they would get on and just sort it out soon, including the start of the multi billion dollar capital injection.

    • biscuit barrel

      An extra OPV ? But they have reduced the days at sea for all the naval vessels.
      Te Kaha has spent just four days at sea in the last 100 days while Te Mana has been tied up for 18 months. Its soon off to Canada for an upgrade.

      .The problem is the staffing and an extra OPV is just the bait and switch. We dont have a coastguard like other countries as it was more economic to get the navy to do it. Now they are getting rid of that function totally, as I cant see MPI being interested at all.

  • CB

    Why are we investing in this antiquated technology these boat things are not economic.
    I for one would be much happier with our defenseborder patrol budget being used on the MQ-9
    We could blow stuff up and take pictures.

    • Israeli drones are cheaper and more effective.

  • Keanne Lawrence

    Hold the phone. This is just Marks making a bid for more spotlight from the supportive Media party. In this case repeating is bleating.

  • biscuit barrel

    Something unusual on the navys 75th anniversary website

    “Lunchtime Talk Part 2: Defence White Paper – Cancelled
    Unfortunately the talk on the Defence White Paper is cancelled due to the paper not yet released”

    This is a big event to have a major policy paper being pulled at the last minute. And it was supposed to be finalised last year ( 2015) so now 2016 is out too?