Editorials 7 April 2010

April 7th, 2010 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald weighs up large trucks on roads:

According to the Ministry of Transport, trucks carrying heavier loads on our roads “will help to improve , while reducing road congestion, operating costs and vehicle emissions”.

The statement is a highly contrary one to critics of the move, who foresee only an increased threat to safety. They are apt to point out that trucks are involved in 16 per cent of all road fatalities despite comprising only 4 per cent of the vehicle fleet.

The MOT rationale is I presume that it is safer to have a fewer number of heavier trucks on the road, than a larger number of lighter trucks.

Allowing trucks to carry loads of up to 53 tonnes – an increase from the present limit of 44 tonnes – from next month can only, they say, make matters worse.

Basic physics supports their view. Heavier trucks will take longer to stop, thereby creating heightened danger for any motorist caught in their path.

That individual truck may be more dangerous, but it does not mean the trucking fleet as a whole will be more dangerous.

But physics are not uppermost in the ministry’s mind when it talks of safety. It hangs its hat on the productivity equation – that a given amount of freight will be carried on fewer trucks.

Safer roads, it says, will be the product of an estimated 20 per cent decrease in the number of trips by trucks, as will be an increase of productivity of between 10 and 20 per cent.

I’d rather have fewer trucks on the road, even if they are heavier.

The Dom Post looks at Auckland Mayors today:

Aucklanders sometimes wonder why the rest of the country rolls its eyes when contemplating shenanigans in the City of Sails.

Sunday newspaper reports about the behaviour of North Shore Mayor illustrate why. He has been accused of public drunkenness, urinating in a public place and driving the mayoral car after he had been drinking one night. …

The mayor has built for himself a reputation of volatility and irascibility, particularly when his will is crossed. Still, he won’t be North Shore mayor after October.

I suspect many North Shore residents are counting down the days.

Mr Williams says he will run for the super-city but won’t say if he’ll contest the mayoralty – probably the second-most-important political position in the country. If he does, he is unlikely to win. New Zealand might love its iconoclasts, but this job is too important to entrust to someone of his ilk.

Little risk there I would say.

The Press calls for trading reform:

If there is one area of the law which is crying out for a thorough re-examination it is the Easter shop trading restrictions.

Once again over the past long weekend Labour Department inspectors were out and about, attempting to enforce a hotchpotch trading regime which is riddled with inconsistencies. …

Then there is the view that with liberal retailing hours at other times of the year it is not too much to reserve Good Friday and Easter Sunday as, generally, shopping-free days, along with Christmas Day and Anzac Day before 1pm.

Yet loosening the restrictions on Easter Sunday or even Good Friday would not compel New Zealanders to head to the cash register. Those who choose, instead, to spend time with family could still do so.

Provided there are safeguards to ensure that reluctant employees could not be coerced into working, then it is high time that the traditional justifications for trading restrictions be scrutinised to determine whether they remain relevant.

Absoultely. And once the change had been made, everyone will wonder why we didn’t do it years ago – just like weekend shopping.

The ODT focuses on the military:

While the air force’s lack of strike-force capability remains a joke, significant expense and effort has gone towards better equipping the navy and army – only for poor judgements and decision-making to undermine much of the progress. …

HMNZS Canterbury, the multi-role ship in this little fleet, had so many defects that manufacturer BAE Systems paid the Government $84.6 million to repair them.

A scathing independent review last year said the ship’s poor performance in high seas would now just have to be accepted. …

How disappointing that one of the army’s latest purchases did its best to outdo the worst of the navy’s larks.

The army spent $590,000 on bullets that were unfit for use in the army’s guns, and had to resell the ammunition for $350,000.

Not to be outdone in magnitude of waste, the army’s light operational vehicles were 63 months late, cost $37 million more than planned and had a string of difficulties.

Now the Government is looking at selling 35 of the 105 because it believes too many were bought.

It was obvious from the beginning we have too many LAVs.

My personal view is that without a strike capability, there is no reason to maintain the RNZAF as a separate service, and our remaining planes and choppers should be integrated into the Army and Navy.

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66 Responses to “Editorials 7 April 2010”

  1. MajorBloodnok (307 comments) says:

    Even physics does not support the NZ Herald argument against allowing heavier trucks on limited routes. “Heavier trucks will take longer to stop”. Is this true?

    Does a Rolls Royce take longer to stop than a Daihatsu Mira? Not normally. They both have brakes that are sized to suit their overall weight. The same applies to trucks. The new truck-trailer combinations will have to meet the same stopping distance requirements as the current rigs.

    The issue of truck weight in a crash becomes a matter of degree. If you were hit on the head with a 1 tonne block of concrete, how much worse would it be if the block were 2 tonnes? Not a lot. Similarly for the difference between hitting a 44 tonne or a 53 tonne rig — I don’t think a motorist would notice it in a collision.

    And for the pro-trainset brigade, ask yourself: if trains are so great at moving freight, why do Toll have the biggest truck fleet in the country?

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  2. eszett (2,450 comments) says:

    And for the pro-trainset brigade, ask yourself: if trains are so great at moving freight, why do Toll have the biggest truck fleet in the country?

    Train are good at moving freight where there are rails. You still need trucks to distribute the goods to other places

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  3. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    Ha.. you’ve got to laugh at the idiocy of the NZ military or at least the government Ministers with that portfolio.

    Twice now I’ve asked (very nicely) if the NZ Defence Forces would assist me in *safely* testing my low-cost cruise missile by providing nothing more than a safe testing ground (there’s one just a couple of hour’s drive from my front door in fact) and both times I’ve been told “The NZ Defence Force does not certify new weaponry” — which was an answer totally unrelated to the question being asked.

    The laugh is on them though because right now I’m negotiating a contract to sell my design and my skills to the government of another country (with which we have an FTA). What’s more, *they* approached me, not v/v. They’ll end up with a *very* valuable addition to their military arsenal, I’ll end up with a wad of cash and the NZ government will be able to add another fiasco to its ever-growing list of military ordinance/equipment blunders.

    I *really* wanted to keep this an NZ enterprise — but it seems that despite the verbal diarrhea that flows when politicians talk about supporting new export-oriented enterprises in NZ, when it comes down to it, they’re really only interested in getting more free air-travel for their kids, optimising their housing allowances, etc, etc. In fact both Labour and National went out of their way to ankle-tap this one!

    If it’s true that we get the government we deserve then there must be one hell of a lot of really thick voters out there.

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  4. menace (402 comments) says:

    Some sections of seal already have a hard time with the 44 tons, i wonder if it will work out similar with a heavier load fewer times?

    No offense aardvark, but I’d prefer to live in an NZ that doesn’t manufacture weapons. Do we already though?

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  5. eszett (2,450 comments) says:

    Twice now I’ve asked (very nicely) if the NZ Defence Forces would assist me in *safely* testing my low-cost cruise missile

    Why would the NZDF have a need for a cruise missile, low cost or otherwise?

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  6. MajorBloodnok (307 comments) says:

    eszett: People and places are not necessarily next to train sidings. Rather than pour billions more into Cullen’s folly, I’d argue we should rip up the tracks and use the land instead for truck-only highways.

    The northern busway is the most successful public transport system in Auckland, because buses are modern, frequent and fast, they are not limited to archaic rail tracks, nor subjected to frequent points’ failures.

    Rail is for the 19th century (unless you have a bullet train).

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  7. MajorBloodnok (307 comments) says:

    menace: Look up Rakon and what it produces.

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  8. MajorBloodnok (307 comments) says:

    Why would the NZDF have a need for a cruise missile, low cost or otherwise?

    Some people do not study history at all.

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  9. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    Eszett: I never asked the NZDF to buy any missiles.

    Having said that, it’s well known that the best defence is a strong offence, n’est pas?

    The benefit of such an industry (to go along with tall the other munitions-related export industries we have here already) is that it generates export receipts — you know, the money we’re going to need to pay for all those N90 helicopters that are not yet fit for purpose, those LAVs that don’t fit our Hercules and which we grossly overpurchased, those aging, crumbling SkyHawks that were converted from a strike-force into a condom full of outdated avionics and corroded aluminium, dud bullets, barely seaworthy navy vessels, etc, etc, etc.

    I see no harm in manufacturing arms and selling them to our allies. Or do you think we shouldn’t have anything to do with guns, missiles, bombs and such. In which case, you’d clearly be against the NZDF’s very existence.

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  10. Bevan (3,232 comments) says:

    I seriously think the last government did their very best to blunt the capability of our defense forces to our soldiers and sailors detriment – not that National has EVER done better! They seem to have purposely decided in the majority of cases on equipment that is either inadequate or ineffective and made changes with very poor foresight. The Canterbury (while the capability was needed) was a poor mans choice and something far more flexible should have been selected like a through deck ship like the French Mistrel, of Korean Dokdo – one of those would have allowed for far more flexibility than some converted unseaworthty civilian ferry – the thing is only slightly better than the Upham and that aint a complement! And it should have been proccured along with an additional frigate – not in place of one. Then there is the NH90, which is running into so many issues the German military is looking for alternatives until the problems can be fixed – and in time they will, but I doubt before we get ours: but why on earth did we get those and not Blackhawks? Then the over purchase of the Lavs – why on earth do we need 105 bloody LAV’s???? Cancelling of the strike capability was the worst decision regarding Defense since the cancelling of the third and forth Anzac frigates – only made worse by limp wristed Key refusing to re-activate the MB339’s for flight training even though all three services reccomended it.

    Our men and women deserve the best equipment and training if we ever expect them to go on deployment overseas – if we cannot give them the best equipment and training, then we should not expect them to risk their lives in some shitty little country. They deserve better than they are getting. Defense has always been the portfolio that has suffered no matter who holds the treasury benches.

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  11. Fletch (6,532 comments) says:

    Too many damn trucks on the roads now, tearing up the tar seal and costing more for road repairs.
    Rail all the way.

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  12. Brian Smaller (3,966 comments) says:

    Have you noticed the irony of Labour Dept inspectors going about on Easter Friday and Sunday and telling other people they cannot work or shop, while getting a day in lieu and time and a half themselves?

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  13. Bevan (3,232 comments) says:

    No offense aardvark, but I’d prefer to live in an NZ that doesn’t manufacture weapons. Do we already though?

    And I prefer to live in a country that has a well rounded defense force – whether those weapons are made in NZ or overseas.

    Also, like Major Bloodnok said – google Rakon, then lookup where our shiny new Inshore Patrol vessels are being built.

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  14. Bevan (3,232 comments) says:

    In which case, you’d clearly be against the NZDF’s very existence.

    He probably thinks there are no bad people in the world either.

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  15. menace (402 comments) says:

    We have to have something of course, even if only for civil emergency and a bit of peace keeping and rebuilding countries after they get there oil forced out of them. There’s some quite legitimate case also….

    In saying that, depends what blood we spill on our hands as to weather we need to waste shit loads on having decent offensive capabilities.

    just my opinion. i don’t like telling others what they should do as that’s the kind of actions that wars are made of.

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  16. menace (402 comments) says:

    Oh yes, Rakon, i probably know some people that work for them actually. Thats not so bad as load of actual missiles being shipped out i suppose.

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  17. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    Menace: that’s the whole point of an LCCM — they don’t cost “shit loads”.

    Do you know how much a single SAM costs?

    Do you know how much a single artillery shell costs?

    Do you know how much a single LAV costs?

    The cost of an LCCM made to sufficient levels of quality and accuracy… $10K.

    So, for the price of a *single* one of those LAVs, we could have built/bought almost EIGHT HUNDRED of those LCCMs.

    Now which do you think would be considered a more potent force from the perspective of a potential aggressor — a handful of soldiers in an LAV or a wall of 800 guided missiles zeroing in on *your* coordinates?

    Now let’s go back to the comparative pricing of a SAM or AAM.

    An AIM-9 sidewinder AAM costs US$84K (NZ$120K).

    Even if an opposing force had the 800+ AAMs needed to shoot down 800 LCCMs, it would cost them around NZ$96 million to protect themselves against a mere NZ$8m worth of ordinance — not a bad ratio and one that would excite your average beancounter.

    That’s called making your defence dollars go further and sound use of taxpayers’ money.

    And let’s not forget the critical role the cruise-missile has played in all major conflicts over the past two decades. Long before the armoured vehicles or even the bombers go in, the cruise missiles constitute a first-line of action.

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  18. gravedodger (1,575 comments) says:

    @ Fletch you obviously have no economic , only a dreamy recollection, of past glory, (see Anderton J) connection to using heavy transport to get by in this world.
    Trains can only go where tracks go.
    Trains only reach any degree of efficiency moving a complete wagon or container of goods – no part loads.
    Trains are grossly inefficient at meeting time constraints as they have to have the whole train load before leaving and have bottlenecks at start and finish.
    Our two best options for bulk freight are logs and coal.
    Logs are a multi product with multi end uses
    coal from SI West coast to Lyttleton is struggling to make economic sense due to track costs and volumes and that is one product with a fixed start/finish.
    All passenger services are heavily subsidised by ratepayers who never get near the trains except at crossings and that service would cease tomorrow without the said subsidy.
    The only alternative to trucks with our geography is coastal shipping and it suffers from many of the negatives above.
    I whole heartedly agree with the sentiment stated previously, rip up the bloody tracks and sell all the steel locos and wagons to the Chicoms so no other bloody fool can do what Mr Cullen (the hon is intentionally omitted) can do to us as a nation again.

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  19. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    Menace said: Oh yes, Rakon, i probably know some people that work for them actually. Thats not so bad as load of actual missiles being shipped out i suppose..

    Why isn’t it as bad?

    That’s like saying “it’s okay if we make guns, so long as we don’t make bullets”.

    All modern ordinance is the sum of its parts. If you make just *one* of those parts, you are party to the creation of the final product. You can’t say “oh, it’s not so bad because we only make the GPS that guides a missile to its target” any more than you can say “oh, it’s not so bad because we only make the explosive”.

    Without the explosive the missile would be less effective but without the GPS it would be useless.

    War is a nasty business but I think that if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the years, it is that once you have enough weapons, the chance of war decreases. Just look at what the nuclear bomb has done — it’s effectively prevented WW3 — and God knows how many young men and innocent civilians would have died in a third round.

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  20. menace (402 comments) says:

    Do we need it though, you make it sound like we are the US and don’t like to pay for our oil. lol. anyway, i don’t have to much conversation for this topic sorry…..

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  21. menace (402 comments) says:

    you can also say that the scrap i took down to the metal buyer will end up in bombs too….

    Of course there’s bad and not so bad, if not so bad was not an option we would be killing each other instead of posting in this forum.

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  22. eszett (2,450 comments) says:

    # aardvark (353) Says:
    April 7th, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Eszett: I never asked the NZDF to buy any missiles.

    So what’s you beef with NZDF then? That they don’t allow you test it on their grounds?

    Having said that, it’s well known that the best defence is a strong offence, n’est pas?

    Heh? Offence against whom? Would could NZ possibly be militarily offensive against? And with cruise missles?

    The benefit of such an industry (to go along with tall the other munitions-related export industries we have here already) is that it generates export receipts — you know, the money we’re going to need to pay for all those N90 helicopters that are not yet fit for purpose, those LAVs that don’t fit our Hercules and which we grossly overpurchased, those aging, crumbling SkyHawks that were converted from a strike-force into a condom full of outdated avionics and corroded aluminium, dud bullets, barely seaworthy navy vessels, etc, etc, etc.

    I see no harm in manufacturing arms and selling them to our allies. Or do you think we shouldn’t have anything to do with guns, missiles, bombs and such. In which case, you’d clearly be against the NZDF’s very existence.

    I never said anything like that thing. I merely questioned why the NZDF should be interested in buying or developing a cruise missile? There is no benefit for them.

    You seem to have found someone that is interested, so good on you.

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  23. Banana Llama (1,043 comments) says:

    Menace.

    I use to electroplate GPS chip components used in Land Warrior as well as bits and pieces for our navy, didn’t see people complaining about that at the time, probably due to the fact no fire shot out the ass end of the product unless we used the jig stripper.

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  24. side show bob (3,410 comments) says:

    “why on earth do we need 105 LAVs” , Perhaps Bevin the Dear One feared an armed uprising had her gang of crooks been lucky enough to win the last election. All LAVs would have being turned into staff cars for Liarbore MPs and their lackeys.

    Wish you luck in your endeavours aardvark, I wonder how many Kiwis have been forced off shore because their ideas do not fit well with the world views of the anointed.

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  25. Bevan (3,232 comments) says:

    Ezzett: Heh? Offence against whom? Would could NZ possibly be militarily offensive against? And with cruise missles?

    He said the best defence is a strong offence – do you need him to say it again, this time in 16 point Times New Roman?

    Menace: Do we need it though, you make it sound like we are the US and don’t like to pay for our oil.

    I must have missed all those tankers leaving Iraq for the US laden with looted oil.

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  26. menace (402 comments) says:

    Banana Llama, i wasnt complaining…..

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  27. Redbaiter (11,880 comments) says:

    ” They are apt to point out that trucks are involved in 16 per cent of all road fatalities despite comprising only 4 per cent of the vehicle fleet.”

    Typical of the worthless crap that mush brained Herald editorial writer would suck up without any thought to its relationship to reality. Trucks are on the road a much greater percentage of time and do much greater kilometres/ annum than the average vehicle. Doing the exercise just on the number of units of each type is just hare brained idiocy.

    But that didn’t stop the Herald editorial writer from unquestioningly and enthusiastically repeating it. The rot so apparent in Herald journalism starts at the top.

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  28. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    Ban all trucks and heavy trucks from the road when i’m driving on them along with caper vans and trailers.
    Or at least heavy trucks between the hours between 6am-6pm..

    I can see big roading infrastructure costs with this.. but it will be cheaper to buy at the Warehouse.. with their cheaper transport costs.. if if they pass the savings down to the consumer.. leaving consumers more savings to put towards the higher road tax charges.. because of the damage done by having heaver trucks on the road.

    It might be in the future cheaper to freight all goods by helicopter.. saving on the countries infrastructure repair bills.

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  29. eszett (2,450 comments) says:

    Bevan (2017) Says:
    April 7th, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Ezzett: Heh? Offence against whom? Would could NZ possibly be militarily offensive against? And with cruise missles?

    He said the best defence is a strong offence – do you need him to say it again, this time in 16 point Times New Roman?

    Bevan, are just simply thick or pretending not to get it?

    What good is an offensive force for NZ? If you build an military force in a way that they can operate offensively, you have to define your potential enemy.

    Just buying some weapons without any kind strategy on when and how to use them is pretty stupid. To say “the best defence is a strong offence” and build your military strategy around that is just insane.

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  30. Pete George (23,836 comments) says:

    Same with defence eszett. Singapore, the Maginot line etc. were a waste of resources, far too easy to invade around or behind.

    Cruise missiles with a range of Chatham Islands aren’t much good for us. If we had a strike airforce would they be any use against ICBM or submarine? Or any decently equipped airforce. We are too small and to distant to have any sort of comprehensive offence or defence (apart from our natural one, a bloody big moat).

    We are better off building a surveillance/rescue/peacekeeping/disaster recovery type force that could slot into a range of war (or post war) roles, slotting in with much larger allies if necessary.

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  31. PaulL (5,453 comments) says:

    Pete – we’d be better off going begging to the Aussies – how about we pay for a share of their armed services. Let’s be honest, that’s our real defence strategy – hope the Aussies come to our rescue. Or more accurately, know that most invaders would probably need to come through Aus first. Our armed services would probably be more than happy to jointly operate with the Aussies – much better economies of scale, better weapons, better training.

    There is, of course, that small loss of sovereignty to consider – but what use is being sovereign if you can’t even protect your own soil?

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  32. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    Pete, if you’re willing to concede that NZ is indefensible then why even bother with the current expenditure on, and inventory of, things like guns, ammo, SAMs, artillery pieces, grenades, etc?

    One doesn’t have to mount a guaranteed successful defence against attack, one only has to ensure that the price (in troop loss or just $) an attacker must pay is greater than they’re willing to bear.

    For that reason, something like an LCCM makes a *great* weapon to use against any force that has already landed. With almost pinpoint accuracy, you can deliver a pay load to their location with minimal chance of collateral damage or risk to your own troops, and in such numbers that it becomes impossible for the enemy to defend themselves.

    Let’s face it, the most likely aggressor against NZ would be one of the Asian nations such as Indonesia. Since they don’t have the ICBM or other ultra long-range weaponry you speak of, a sky black with LCCMs would be a mighty strong deterrent that cost a trifling sum.

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  33. davidp (3,585 comments) says:

    Eszett>Just buying some weapons without any kind strategy on when and how to use them is pretty stupid. To say “the best defence is a strong offence” and build your military strategy around that is just insane.

    It sounds like a Hamas approach to defence. Build lots of shit rockets and shoot them at the enemy in a vaguely aimed fashion. Score zero for effectiveness. Score zero for practicability, since we don’t have any way of launching or aiming them. Score zero for coherence because these low cost cruise missiles without the accompanying C3I systems sounds a lot like V1s, and implementing 1940s weapons systems in 2010 is always a losing strategy. They’re not part of a coherent balanced defence force and I’d prefer to have an LAV, thanks.

    But this lack of government support seems to be one of Bruce Aardvark’s themes. I recall previously he has written to the US military (or State Department?) bugging them about something that was none of their business. NZDF don’t have a mission or the capability to assist local inventors test their inventions, and Bruce knows this. I suspect he hopes that if he writes to enough people, sooner or later someone will go “oh, that’s a great idea, I’ll buy 100 thanks”. But apart from Hamas or a rogue country like Iran or North Korea that thinks that quantity plus bluff equals a credible defence posture, I suspect he’d be better off aiming at the recreational market. Good on him, but I’d rather NZDF concentrated on defence.

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  34. Pete George (23,836 comments) says:

    I agree on the sense in an ANZAC force. Aus is no threat to us. And if they get attacked (because they are closer) we are better to be helping them on their front line rather than waiting for them to be overrun and then get our turn at being whacked.

    Why is it a sovereignty issue? NATO manages a much more complex force of multiple sovereign nations.

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  35. davidp (3,585 comments) says:

    Aardvark>For that reason, something like an LCCM makes a *great* weapon to use against any force that has already landed.

    NZ has expeditionary armed forces that deploy to places like East Timor, Afghanistan, Bosnia, and other places where NZ’s foreign interests are at stake. The idea that invasion across a beach (or any other sort of invasion, for that matter) is something we need to plan for is pure fantasy.

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  36. Yvette (2,764 comments) says:

    Vaguely relevant –just announced : the Crown is to take a $ 1 million civil suit against the Waihopai Three

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  37. krazykiwi (8,040 comments) says:

    Yvette – I hope they do. And I say this knowing one of the three personally!

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  38. Bevan (3,232 comments) says:

    Bevan, are just simply thick or pretending not to get it?

    Do you not understand the english language? The phrase is quite common actually: The best defence is a string offence – surprised you haven’t heard of it.

    What good is an offensive force for NZ? If you build an military force in a way that they can operate offensively, you have to define your potential enemy.

    We do not need to define an enemy for our forces, but NZ should define what capability it needs to first: defend the nation. Second: provide emergency relief from natural disaster in our region of the Pacific. Third: to assist our natural allies if any of them is attacked, and lastly: to assist our allies in UN approved operations (or unapproved if the ends justify it). We need to define what capability

    Just buying some weapons without any kind strategy on when and how to use them is pretty stupid. To say “the best defence is a strong offence” and build your military strategy around that is just insane.

    You sound like you think military weapons are solely for invading other countries – quite frankly I hope that any weapon NZ ever buys is never needed to be used in anger.

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  39. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    DavidP, me thinks you do assume too much ;-)

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  40. Bevan (3,232 comments) says:

    We are better off building a surveillance/rescue/peacekeeping/disaster recovery type force that could slot into a range of war (or post war) roles, slotting in with much larger allies if necessary.

    So, what you are saying is sit back and let everyone else do the hard fighting?

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  41. davidp (3,585 comments) says:

    Aardvark>me thinks you do assume too much

    Such as?

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  42. Shunda barunda (2,986 comments) says:

    “So, what you are saying is sit back and let everyone else do the hard fighting?”

    The reality is we lack the money and man power to fight wars on our own, we do far better as specialist and even elite units as part of a much larger force.

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  43. Bevan (3,232 comments) says:

    The reality is we lack the money and man power to fight wars on our own

    Oh I’m fucken sick of people using that excuse to shirk our defense responsibilities! First, NZ would only ever deploy as part of a larger force comprised of the militaries of other nations. Who the hell is saying we would deploy on our own – that is a rediculous thought! Second – we cannot expect other countries to do the fighting we refuse to equip ourselves to do as well.

    we do far better as specialist and even elite units as part of a much larger force.

    Specialist in what exactly? Transport? Maritime Surveillance? Paper clip distribution? You’ll find most other countries are alrady equipped in those matters! And there is nothing saying we cannot have a robust (even if small) military as well as having specialist units like the SAS. We need to pull our weight in all three aspects, Air, Sea and Land – we are shit hot with the SAS in the land part, but frankly showing the flag with our two underequipped frigates and letting the rest of the world provide the air defense is nonsense – and saying the cost is too high is complete bullshit! You want to find the money – well it seems we could find 1 billion to buy an outdated train set, the money we paid over what it was worth could have brought a number of decent fighter aircraft!

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  44. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    DavidP said: “I suspect he hopes that if he writes to enough people, sooner or later someone will go “oh, that’s a great idea, I’ll buy 100 thanks”

    That’s what you incorrectly assume.

    I’ve written to the last Labour Government’s Minister of Defence (who was at the time Mark Burton, my local MP) and the current National Government’s Minister of Defence. That’s two people.

    And, all I asked was assistance in ensuring that the tests were safe — since only the NZDF has access to the kind of restricted area where such tests can be safely (and legally) conducted, what other options did I have — apart from breaking the law?

    Or are you suggesting that I should have simply violated a raft of CAA regulations and potentially placed people and property in danger — rather than opting to do things honestly and legally.

    And I’ve never once suggested to anyone in government that they ought to consider the LCCM as a viable piece of defence hardware. My goal with this project was not to create a low cost weapon for widespread use but to simply highlight the fact that it could be done and therefore all governments (including NZ’s own) ought to be aware of that fact in these days of “The War Against Terror”.

    Indeed, perhaps the biggest surprise when I contacted the NZDF was that they said they didn’t have the expertise in missiles to help (so a civilian with a high-school education has *MORE* expertise than our finest military personnel???? — that’s scary).

    They also seemed to think that, despite this deficit of missile knowledge, they didn’t need to see whether/how effective such a device could be, even though they claimed to know of its potential for use as a terror weapon.

    I find it *very* hard to believe that *any* defence force could say “we’re not interested” when offered the chance to observe the effectiveness of a weapon that they may one day encounter for real.

    But that seems to sum up the administration of our military forces — severely lacking in competence — which kind of brings us back to that editorial doesn’t it?

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  45. Stuart Mackey (336 comments) says:

    Pete George (4456) Says:
    April 7th, 2010 at 4:33 pm
    Same with defence eszett. Singapore, the Maginot line etc. were a waste of resources, far too easy to invade around or behind.

    Cruise missiles with a range of Chatham Islands aren’t much good for us. If we had a strike airforce would they be any use against ICBM or submarine? Or any decently equipped airforce. We are too small and to distant to have any sort of comprehensive offence or defence (apart from our natural one, a bloody big moat).
    ************************

    Do people not study history in this country anymore?
    The air strike arm was always conceived principally as a means of outmatching/defeating the kind of seaborne surface threats that this country could face in the event that we are called upon to defend our interests, those interests being located in area’s with nations who are able to carry out such raids. Those interests, ie where all the money comes from to keep us in the manner we want to be accustomed to , are all located outside of the South Pacific.
    Why you consider that a strategic asset like ICBM’s would be used against us, I do not know, but to use that as an argument against an airstrike force is illogical, as air strike forces clearly cannot be used against such a weapon; you use the correct tool for the job,ICBM’s would be dealt with by a system such as the old US Nike/Zeus system and its successors had they been built. Hence why we got P3 Orion’s to deal with submarines, it was the right tool for the job.

    **************************************
    We are better off building a surveillance/rescue/peacekeeping/disaster recovery type force that could slot into a range of war (or post war) roles, slotting in with much larger allies if necessary
    **************

    Such a ‘force’ would not be able to be able to fit into any warlike role, due to being unable to conduct warlike operations. Given the nature of modern warfare and the limitations of NZ’s resources its also doubtful such an organisation would have the capacity to render any meaningful post war role either, and its doubtful that the victors of said war would want our assistance in such operations when they can
    a) do it better
    b) why should NZ gain any kudo’s when NZ never did any of the dieing?.
    Glory, and gratitude for rebuilding war shattered nations, goes to those who make the sacrifice of blood, not to lazy opportunistic vultures wanting to share in others hard won triumph when they did none of the work.

    Btw, surveillance means nothing if you cannot react to the information surveillance generates.

    DPF: Why you and others think we got too many LAV’s, I do not know, perhaps you think that a future enemy will not shoot back, that vehicles don’t get destroyed? If you cannot replace combat losses (and thats what they are for, combat) from attrition reserves (it takes too long to build new equivalents) then it begs the question of why have any equipment at all? As it is we cannot sustain a battalion group in combat, despite political blathering that the armed forces should be able to do so, and you want to reduce that capacity still further?

    The armed forces are not a commercial business, where unused/underutilized capacity should be sold off if it will not be used, they exist to kill and will be killed in return, and that requires reserves of personal and equipment; that may appear inefficient during peace, but in the bloody business of conflict and war, the purpose of their existence, it determines victory or defeat.

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  46. davidp (3,585 comments) says:

    Aardvark>I’ve written to the last Labour Government’s Minister of Defence (who was at the time Mark Burton, my local MP) and the current National Government’s Minister of Defence. That’s two people.

    According to http://www.aardvark.co.nz/daily/2008/0604.shtml you:

    “I also recall that I emailed all the relevant US security departments before I even started the cruise missile project and invited their comments or concerns. All I got were some automated replies and they were still surprised when they “discovered” the project through the media.”

    Why oh why would you possibly write to the government of a foreign country about an R&D project you were running in NZ? Did you also write to the governments of Ecuador, Mongolia, and Mali to find out if they had comments or concerns? If not, why single out the US? You were either fishing for some sort of collaboration. Or indulging in some self publicity. Given your odd claim that IRD bankrupted you in order to shut down your project (which, if true, seems to have been an epic fail) rather than because you failed to pay your taxes and the self publicity you generated, then maybe the second alternative is more likely.

    >Or are you suggesting that I should have simply violated a raft of CAA regulations and potentially placed people and property in danger — rather than opting to do things honestly and legally.

    If you were concerned about “CAA” regulations, then talk to the CAA. You instead contacted the Minister of Defence. Neither the Ministry of Defence nor NZDF regulate airways safety. And surely you know that NZDF doesn’t have a weapons development lab full of engineers to assist backyard weapons builders? Did you expect them to lend you a Hercules pilot for a few weeks to help your testing? Or to stop training for a few days so that you could shoot a missile in to bomb range, hoping that you don’t cock it all up and crash in Palmerston North or wipe out a farm?

    >I find it *very* hard to believe that *any* defence force could say “we’re not interested” when offered the chance to observe the effectiveness of a weapon that they may one day encounter for real.

    And the police are negligent for not being interested that the SST can smuggle a fake bomb in to a sports stadium? The chances of someone launching a low cost cruise missile at a target in NZ is so close to zero it is probably less likely than a catastrophic meteorite strike. Any home made missile attack against NZ forces deployed overseas is going to be about as effective as Hamas rocket attacks on Israel. What is there to observe? A small quantity of explosive material is delivered by air and makes a loud bang. There is a slight chance of injury. I think the military have some experience of this sort of thing already.

    >But that seems to sum up the administration of our military forces — severely lacking in competence — which kind of brings us back to that editorial doesn’t it?

    Some military procurement decisions aren’t perfect. But then neither are procurement decisions in any other government department or most businesses. But I’d sooner rely on the advice of military professionals with, collectively, hundreds of thousands of years experience working full time on military matters over that of an eccentric tinkerer with a bent for self-publicity who believes that NZ is at risk of amphibious assault from Indonesia.

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  47. Shunda barunda (2,986 comments) says:

    Ok, it is now clear what we need to do.
    We need nuclear weapons.
    Think about it, no fallout from our enemies burning cities because they are too far away to bother us.
    Naval task force approaching? no problem, Nuke em.
    It is the only way people, the only way.

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  48. Stuart Mackey (336 comments) says:

    Shunda barunda (1052) Says:
    April 7th, 2010 at 7:31 pm
    Ok, it is now clear what we need to do.
    We need nuclear weapons.
    Think about it, no fallout from our enemies burning cities because they are too far away to bother us.
    Naval task force approaching? no problem, Nuke em.
    It is the only way people, the only way.”
    ****************

    An excellent idea, but it does have one tiny flaw:
    You see, a nuclear power cannot be beaten, it can only be defeated from achieving its aims.
    Your enemy, therefore, must gain its own nuclear stockpile to ensure they cannot be beaten by your conventional forces.
    Therefore the use of nuclear weapons guarantees a nuclear response.
    Use them, or loose them and face defeat.

    So your proposal means obliteration.

    Needless to say this is why nuclear war has never occurred, and why no one will push a nuclear power to the point where they have no other option but nuclear release.
    Incidentally its why the 1973 Yom Kippur war ended as it did, the Arab nations would not risk nuclear obliteration, and that is true to this day; Israel cannot be beaten.

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  49. PaulL (5,453 comments) says:

    davidp: as an interested observer, I think I can see some of the flaws in your argument.

    1. I don’t think aardvark wanted anything other than a place he could fire his rocket. He didn’t need a Hercules pilot, a weapons lab or anything else. Just somewhere he was allowed to fly an aircraft at low altitude, and blow stuff up. I presume he has enough smarts to build a cutoff into his missile, so he wasn’t asking for the military to stand by to shoot the thing down if it went rogue – even if they had the capability to do so.

    2. I don’t know why you assume that this cruise missile would be a Hamas type rocket with no accuracy. I’m pretty sure I could build something that could deliver a small payload (read unusable payload) into a 5 or 10 metre radius. I know aardvark’s been looking a lot longer than I have, and a few years back I read some of his stuff. I suspect he is right in being able to deliver a usable payload (I’d guess 50kg?) into the same 5-10m radius. The control systems aren’t hard. The difference that I see between a low-cost cruise missile and a high cost one is that you get no terrain hugging, no radar avoidance, no waypoints and all that crap. Just a spot that you’re flying to and a payload. I reckon it isn’t too hard to build something that would deliver that with 70-80% reliability. And most places you might fire one have no defences against it – they don’t need terrain hugging and all that crap. Say, for example, at the Beehive. I’m not aware of any weapons system in NZ that can reliably shoot down a cruise missile (even an unstealthy one) and that is actually deployed on the Beehive roof.

    3. I didn’t see aardvark seriously suggest that the NZ defence force might want to buy any. Someone made a comment that it’d be useless for defending NZ, he made the throwaway comment that the best defence is a strong offence, and that you never know. But I also think he pretty clearly said that he didn’t think it was something that NZ would want.

    It seems to me you’re arguing against a straw man…..

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  50. noskire (835 comments) says:

    Seeing as a good portion of the RNZAF workload is tied up patrolling our maritime interests, and searching for wayward yachties and trampers, why isn’t their some discussion on purchasing/building UAV’s for this role. UAV’s can also be deployed in an offensive role. Far more cost effective I would have thought.

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  51. davidp (3,585 comments) says:

    PaulL…

    1. According to Bruce’s site, his cruise missile has a range of about 150km. To test that safely he’d need a test range at least 300km x 300km. NZ just doesn’t have military areas like that. The nearest is probably in Woomera, which is where several countries actually DO test flying weaponry. Bruce is quite able to hire it if he wanted to. It’d cost a fortune, but then that is the difference between a $10k cruise missile and a real world one… the real world one has been properly qualified, and that isn’t cheap.

    The US did much of their cruise missile testing over Canada. If they didn’t have enough room south of the border even with the vast test ranges they have in the California desert, then that is a hint that NZ might not have a vast enough uninhabited wilderness available.

    But even if the NZDF really did have a huge uninhabited test range, do you REALLY think they’d let someone fly a prototype cruise missile over it without supervision and a raft of safety measures? “Just leave me to it guys and I’ll tidy up when I’m finished… And don’t worry, it’s all QUITE safe” :-) NZ just doesn’t have the sort of expertise or infrastructure required to operate an air weapons test range.

    2. I think I read the warhead was 10kg. It is guided by GPS so it isn’t going to be any use against a moving target, only a pre-surveyed static one. I struggle to think how the NZ military would use that sort of capability. And using it in a tactical role isn’t credible… when you’re trained to be resiliant against 250kg-1000kg bombs, a 10kg warhead isn’t going to worry you too much. It represents the same sort of nuisance value that the Hamas rockets do, which is why I made the comparison.

    I’m not sure what your Beehive point is. Are you suggesting that the Beehive should be armed with AA missiles? Do you really see that as a threat we need to protect ourselves against?

    3. He said, in this thread:

    “Let’s face it, the most likely aggressor against NZ would be one of the Asian nations such as Indonesia. Since they don’t have the ICBM or other ultra long-range weaponry you speak of, a sky black with LCCMs would be a mighty strong deterrent that cost a trifling sum.”

    To me that seems to be promoting his invention as a counter to Indonesian attack. Which is even less likely than someone attacking the Beehive with a home made cruise missile. The military are busy enough without trying to protect us against movie plot threats.

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  52. Stuart Mackey (336 comments) says:

    noskire (242) Says:
    April 7th, 2010 at 8:51 pm
    Seeing as a good portion of the RNZAF workload is tied up patrolling our maritime interests, and searching for wayward yachties and trampers, why isn’t their some discussion on purchasing/building UAV’s for this role. UAV’s can also be deployed in an offensive role. Far more cost effective I would have thought
    ************

    There has been talk of it, it was even in the herald a couple of years back, and it is being looked at. Specifically high endurance drones for maritime surveillance. The issue we face is cost , if we want some ,enough for good coverage, we must either increase the defense spend or lose a capability.

    As for UAVs in an offensive role, thats fine providing nothing is shooting back, like surface to air missiles (SAM’s) or fighter aircraft. Against that kind of opposition you would need your own air defense suppression; that is to say fighters, bombers, and those would be countered by..SAMs and fighters and so on.
    You see, its not about individual platforms like frigates or tanks etc, its about combinations of platforms working together to achieve a goal; We call this idea ‘Systems’.

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  53. LeftPilot (60 comments) says:

    Scalability is the reason why despite not having a strike force the RNZAF is not disbanded and its function rolled into the other forces.

    Believe it or not the composition of today’s NZDF is vastly different to that during WW2. The ideal situation is to have the forces commensurate with the strategic realities (and yes you need to start somewhere so I’ll shut down that angle). As with everything in Government there has to be a balance. Of course there will always be wingnuts who rue the death of the military in New Zealand but that is a step too far. We have a defence force that we can be proud of.

    However, there is a simple way to scale up the NZDF to the level which some think it should be. I think we should tie the retirement age to the national life expectancy average. I mean really what have you lot done to advance and protect our sovereignty? You voted in a succession of governments of all electoral flavours that consistently underfunded the NZDF and left it in the position it is now. Those heroes that fought for us have largely passed on and we as a society have served them in some measure as they served us. You lot have just gone and mucked up everything so off to work with you. And while we are it, with everyone working longer we can use that super fund for some nice shiny jets. Maybe we could tart up the Aussie F-111’s as they retire them. Put a nice big kiwi roundel on the side… that’d look real smart that would.

    I hear the Indo’s reckon we’re ripe for the picking. The Aussies are pretty scared of them too so I don’t think they’ll be much help.

    On the UAV front a number of Army personnel were trained through a civilian organisation for NZDF UAV operations. They have trialled a number of types and have a section of airspace in the lower north island for testing.

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  54. niggly (832 comments) says:

    Pete George (4457) Says:

    April 7th, 2010 at 4:52 pm
    I agree on the sense in an ANZAC force. Aus is no threat to us. And if they get attacked (because they are closer) we are better to be helping them on their front line rather than waiting for them to be overrun and then get our turn at being whacked.

    You may or may not have realised that in this statement you have spoken the truth about NZ’s defence stance!

    An invading or more like an attacking force is more likley to go thru Australia (forget about a direct invasion to NZ first), and then possibly onto NZ.

    That’s why NZ defence doesn’t have gun emplacements nor land based anti-shipping or anti-aircraft missile systems pointing out to sea (mind you they would be bought if the shit did look as though it would hit the fan, well at least the pollies in saving money would hope for that, but it could be too late by then)!

    Instead, we would forward deploy to assist Australia (remember if the mighty ADF falls, then NZ is on its own – didn’t I just say we have minimal capability to defend our shores)?

    So we had the Skyhawks once, and in fact one Skyhawk squadron was deployed and based in Australia. They were there to train our pilots to advance to our operational squadron, no 75, which was the one that deployed further eg into SE Asia. The Oz based Skyhawk squadron was also contracted (yep, the Oz govt paid the NZ Govt $$$$$) to train against the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) combat Frigates against air attack (a very likely scenario one day in SE Asia or perhaps continental Oz itself).

    Don’t believe the political BS at the time of the disbandment of the Skyhawks, they may not be the world’s best fighter-bomber aircraft, but they had been upgraded with the F16 radar, were small and nimble (thus hard to spot), had professional world class pilots and gave the RAN a real blast at times i.e. simulated successful strikes against the RAN (if you were to be interested go and buy Ross Ewing’s Topped Gun, a history of the Skyhawk in NZ, in one chapter one of the RNZAF strike pilots describes how they “attacked” a RAN task force after leaving Sydney and the first the RAN knew of the Skyhawks were when one of them overflew the ships – if it was for real that ship would have been hit before they knew what hit them).

    So as you can see, it makes more sense to be shoring up our cuzzies (which kiwis are increasly calling their home) and have something real at the table (hence the OZ dismay when our Skyhawks were chopped – they really did feel we were abandoning them … which in practical terms means we, NZ, lose out the day someone does make on mineral rich, vastly unpopulated Australia).

    Remember also when NZ sent troops into East Timor in 1999, the Skyhawks could have successfully attacked Indonesian warships, if the TNI decided to overthrow the new civialian Govt and tried to stop the international task force (and believe me they could have caused loss of lives by attacking transport ships and so on). The Skyhawks, whilst not officially contributing to the ET effort (there was no real need in the end) were on extended exercise deployment elsewhere in SE Asia. It’s not hard to read between the lines on that.

    The Nats should grow some balls and do something about restoring a low cost air strike force, Uncle Sam would give us dirt cheap F16’s again if we asked…..

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  55. niggly (832 comments) says:

    DPF said “My personal view is that without a strike capability, there is no reason to maintain the RNZAF as a separate service, and our remaining planes and choppers should be integrated into the Army and Navy.”

    Hey David, it may sound good in theory but in practice it wouldn’t be a good idea (although I have no problems with National looking at “back end” integration of the 3 services eg perhaps that could mean joint HR systems or joint basic training etc – lets see what the Govt recommends in due course etc)!

    The 3 services have their own traditions, institutional knowledge, strengths and abilities to fit in with their allied counterparts in training exercises and on real deployments etc.

    (It would be like merging the Police, Fire Service and Ambulance systems into one or in your example earlier, merging aspects of one of them, say Fire Service with Ambulance or Police – not a good idea for similar reasons. For example if there is a car crash, building collapse, hazardous chemical leak etc, who is the primary service to respond? It’s the Fire Service. The FS are trained to deal with these including tending to crash victims until the ambulance arrives. Now imagine if these 3 services were merged, would one have any confidence that someone primarily trained to be a police officer would also be fully competent as a fireman/woman, big and burley and also trained to enter a hazardous chemical environment where there are victims? In other words one can’t possibly be skillled in all 3 areas or even 2 areas).

    Same with the NZDF, for example, despite not having strike capability the Air Force understands aircraft operations better than the Army and Navy and because we have a small defence force compared to the majority of comparable countries, it’s more efficient to have the Air Force maintain ALL aircraft. EG the RNZAF maintains/supports the Navy helicopters (the Navy provides their own pilots though, who are trained up via the RNZAF ie it’s not efficient to run parallel AF and Navy pilot training etc. On the other hand AF mechanics/trades work on AF helos and with their experience the Navy helos – again why run a seperate Navy mechanic trade with a handful of staff, but it’s own command structure? It’s not efficient and we have it just right.

    On another theme, if the AF helos are given to Army, what’s to say the Army would rather chop helo numbers and use the $$$ to buy, say tanks? Or the Navy chops the Orions to use the $$$ to buy ships? It would turn into a disaster – I do hope National and ACT (as associate def min) doesn’t do something so stupid, it would be bad, bad and nothing but bad (and let’s face it, NZDF are so stretched with their various deployments, imagine how distruptive this would be to have major, major organisational changes happenning at the same time. It would also add uncessary stresses upon the “troops”, who in these situations of life and death when on deployment, could be killed because their mind and thoughts were elsewhere. Apparently (although I welcome someone to clarify) this is in part to blame for the Skyhawk crash in Australia that killed the commanding officer of the NZ Skyhawk squadron based there, whom also was somewhat distracted (probably mentally exhausted) by the impending cull of the RNZAF strike squadrons in 2001

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  56. niggly (832 comments) says:

    Sorry, hadn’t quite finished. To get around this issue from another perspective would be for the likes of Heather Roy to stop talking crap about the imminent sale of the Skyhawks and Aermacchis to this US private pilot training company (because they can’t find the cash after trying since Labour announced their “sale” back in 2005) and simply reinstate the Aermacchis now (for NZDF training for deployments) and when the ecomony allows, purchase some cheap alternative strike aircraft to the Skyhawks (because spare parts are out of the question for such an outdated plane). Options could include second hand F16’s to Korea’s new T/A50 advanced trainer (which actually looks like an F16). Swedish Grippens have also been suggested but to save on logistics costs, something US (or the joint US-Korean T/A 50) would be cheaper to both purchase and support over their lifetime.

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  57. PaulL (5,453 comments) says:

    niggly: better still, something that interoperates with teh Aussies. F/A 18 perhaps?

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  58. Bevan (3,232 comments) says:

    niggly: better still, something that interoperates with teh Aussies. F/A 18 perhaps?

    You don’t need to get the exact equipment as the Aussies to interoperate. As long as the planes can communicate and utilise the same weapons – that should be sufficient. We should make sure we can accentuate the Aussies, they dont expect us to make an equal contribution, just one relative to our size and population. What NZ needs is something smaller, expeditionary, and concentrate on CAS and light strike, maritime strike as secondary, and A2A as tertiary – and also make sure the support requirements are not extreme. Personally I think we should go Swedish.

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  59. PaulL (5,453 comments) says:

    Bevan – we don’t have to have the same. But the logistics would be way cheaper if they were – on deployment we can share spares, maintenance crews etc etc. When they need servicing, there’s an industry in Aus already skilled up. From a pure cost effectiveness viewpoint, much better if we have identical equipment.

    If, however, you treat Defence as a source of hidden corporate/employment welfare, as Australia do, then better to go different. This would then mean that we use the industry that has to be created as a source of employment, apprenticeships, and protectionism. More expensive way to do things, but arguably also a better return on investment.

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  60. Bevan (3,232 comments) says:

    Bevan – we don’t have to have the same. But the logistics would be way cheaper if they were – on deployment we can share spares, maintenance crews etc etc. When they need servicing, there’s an industry in Aus already skilled up. From a pure cost effectiveness viewpoint, much better if we have identical equipment.

    Agree but in five to ten years time when they move the the extremely expensive F-35, do we just up and buy the same as them too? I doubt the savings on logistics would make it more economical to operate a two engine aircraft over a single engine one. Also you would find that we could share maintenance crews anyway – the JAS39 engine is a Swedish copy of the F18 engine and there are also plenty of examples where pilots and crews have been seconded to friendly airforces – there are RAAF pilots who have flown USAF F-15’s and USAF pilots flying the Typhoon and RAF pilots who have trained on the Raptor! Plus think about it, if we went Swedish we could offer our maintenance/spares/logistics to Thailand to help support theirs (they are getting 6) – that way instead of us paying someone else (which we would with Australia) someone else would pay us!

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  61. PaulL (5,453 comments) says:

    Can’t recall whether they’re ditching the F/A 18 at that time, or keeping both. I think they’re keeping super hornet and getting rid of the older F/A 18s

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  62. noskire (835 comments) says:

    The F18 is primarily an air-offense aircraft. If NZ wants an aircraft with both land and air-strike capabilities, then the F16 is probably the best option, seeing as we can’t afford the F35.

    I still think that UAV’s, developed and built in NZ, should be our primary option. And an extraordinary export opportunity.

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  63. PaulL (5,453 comments) says:

    We had F16s. The Labour govt canned the deal.

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  64. noskire (835 comments) says:

    The same aircraft were then supposed to be sold to Pakistan, and that’s also fallen through.

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  65. PaulL (5,453 comments) says:

    Other way round wasn’t it. They were originally sold to Pakistan, the Yanks didn’t like Pakistan any more, so they mothballed them in the desert until they could find a buyer. That’s why we had such a sweetheart deal on them – they were just going to waste where they were, and they had less than the best tech in them (Pakistan weren’t getting the full fruit version) so the US didn’t want them themselves.

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  66. Bevan (3,232 comments) says:

    PaulL: Can’t recall whether they’re ditching the F/A 18 at that time, or keeping both. I think they’re keeping super hornet and getting rid of the older F/A 18s

    F/A18F’s are stopgap replacements for the F111’s until the F-35’s arrive. Not sure if they will keep them after that, but at this stage keeping them is not the plan.

    noskire: The F18 is primarily an air-offense aircraft

    No, it is a true multi role aircraft, its correct designation is F/A18 Fighter/Attack. They were intended to replace the F4 and A7 in the USN.

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