26 Mei 2010
NZ Light Armoured Vehicle (photo : david wall)
The Ministry of Defence wants to sell up to 35 of the army's 105 light armoured vehicles, it was reported tonight.
One News said it had obtained documents under the Official Information Act which showed three LAVs were sent to Kabul to help transport New Zealand's SAS soldiers deployed in the Afghanistan capital but there were no plans to send any more overseas.
The report said 35 were likely to be sold, and Defence Minister Wayne Mapp said the army had more than it needed.
"There's never been a question that the army needs LAVs - it does - the question is do we need more than about 70 or 80?" he said.
Dr Mapp admitted they could be difficult to offload.
"There's no doubt specialist military equipment is always difficult to sell so that's a bit of a lesson for the future - you should by and large acquire what you need, rather than more."
The previous Labour government paid nearly $680 million for the LAVs in 2003.
Green Party MP Keith Locke said there had never been a need for so many LAVs.
"It's welcome news that the Government is selling off a third of the LAVs that were very much surplus to requirement - only three have been used since we've had them," he told NZPA.
"There's no apparent need to have a large number for places like the Solomon Islands and East Timor where we do peacekeeping and tank-like vehicles are not appropriate if we want to maintain good relations with the local population."
Mr Locke said it appeared the army pushed the Labour government into buying 105 LAVs for the sort of combat New Zealand forces were unlikely to be involved in.
"It's good that instead of having them hanging around we're selling them off while we can still get something for them," he said.
"There was never really a good case for having so many."