posted on Nov, 29 2004 @ 03:41 PM
The USA offered to lease NZ 28 upgraded F-16A/Bs that went straight to storage (embargoed Pakistan AF) I think it was something like less than 10% buy
price, with an option to buy outright in ten years. That was 1998 or 99 from memory.
The then NZ Government and RNZAF jumped at the chance to replace the veteran Skyhawks. Morale was reportedly high. On top of that the NZ P-3Bs were
getting an upgrade that would make them as good as the the recent AP-3C upgrades of the RAAF. And they had MB.339s.
Then the Clarke government got in.
Overnight it seemed like a bloodbath - No F-16s, the A-4s went, the Macchis too. The P-3 systems upgrades got canned after a small fortune on airframe
work was completed. There are some countries whose airspace regs wouldnt let a RNZAF P-3 operate because of thier outdated avionics. The Clarke
Government is still talking about replacing them with smaller, shorter legged twins like Dash 8s or even aircraft like the Super King Air (at a time
when countries like Brazil are finding money to buy surplus P-3s).
We couldnt even get the NZ government to let the RNZAF A-4 squadron based in NSW to keep flying....with us paying for it! Which gave lie to it being
more about economics and less about political idealogy.
Makes regional neighbours like Fiji wonder if NZ is really serious about thier role in the region, as NZ P-3s do long range economic zone patrols in
the region to support the island nations. It means that the ADF will be busier as there was an agreement on the division of labour with the RAAF P-3s
watching other zones. Or there will not be patrols at all.
Reports in Australia indicated that it caused crippling damage to a civilian NZ aerospace support industry built around supporting the RNZAF. If they
hadn't bailed out Air NZ...Pfffttt!
They mothballed and disposed the Sealift ship Charles Upham, only a few short years after aqquiring it, and finally killed off the RNZN options on the
3rd and 4th Anzac Class frigates.
On the plus side
The NZ Army is getting new radio sets and Australian built wheeled LAVs light armoured vehicles to replace the Scorpions and M-113s....and these are
the most advanced versions available. Although for now they are dependent on others moving them outside NZ.
And they brought a sensible version of the SH-2G helos, and had a sensible transition (oh that was a pre Clarke arrangement) that we Australians
should have done. "Oh no we are not going to fly old refurbished -F versions in the interim,Oh no we are going to waste....spend years and millions
rebuilding our -Gs and reducing the crews by one man". look whose been flying thier birds five six years and whose still trying to get the software
on thiers to work. That was an Oz stuff up, not NZs.
The RNZN even managed to squeeze seven new ships out of $500 million dollars. Tenix Australia/NZ has been contracted to supply a 8000t multirole
sealift and support ship to be built in Holland, two 1800t OPVs to be built in Australia with many components fabricated in NZ, and four large Inshore
Patrol Vessels to be built in Tenix NZ yards.
It must have been the lack of guns in the CGI concepts that got it past the minister. They will be operated by the RNZN with a multi agency mandate.
Fisheries Customs and Police for instance.
The RNZAF has been reduced to a prop trainer, transport and helilift force.....oh and flying government ministers and advisors around the place in
modern quiet comfort. Couldnt you at least have kept the Macchis?
Its not that NZ has gone peacenik on us that has miffed some Australians with service affiliations. Its that they have done so placing most of the
burden on us. There is a feeling that the attitude has become "between us and the world is Australia....we don't need to do jack if the need
Some Australians feel NZ isn't even doing the bare minimum to support the alliance.
Some Australians worked hard to keep defence ties with NZ running when NZ quite rightly stopped letting USN ships visit if they were nukes or the
Americans wouldnt tell, and the US responded by excluding NZ from tri defence arrangements. Some Australians wonder why we bothered and wasted the
We thought that if the doo doo really hit the fan, we could depend on NZ to back us up - not carry them.
As to being peaceniks. NZ doesnt widely advertise it, but there are usually 60-100 NZDF personnel serving in the middle east in the coalition, with NZ
SAS in Afghanistan. Even Australia doesnt have known SF in the region at the moment.