$639 million upgrade poses question of whether we need frigates

By   /   December 15, 2017  /   28 Comments

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The frigates Te Mana and Te Kaha are a huge drain on the taxpayer. They cost hundreds of millions of dollars a year in running costs and regular upgrades. The current electronics upgrade is now priced at a whopping $639 million.

The frigates Te Mana and Te Kaha are a huge drain on the taxpayer. They cost hundreds of millions of dollars a year in running costs and regular upgrades. The current electronics upgrade is now priced at a whopping $639 million.

Instead of racing ahead with this expensive upgrade – 70% up on the original $374 million budgeted cost – the Labour/NZ First Cabinet should have reassessed whether we really need frigates. With two off-shore patrol boats, four in-shore patrol boats and the multi-purpose vessel Canterbury, New Zealand is well-served for fisheries patrols and disaster relief in the South Pacific and the southern ocean.

Having the frigates undermines New Zealand’s independent foreign policy, because they are optimised to join a US-led flotilla, as Defence Minister Ron Mark in effect admitted on RNZ this morning when he talked about their use for the Five Eyes.

The current upgrade – for missile defence, radar detection and torpedo decoys – is only needed against a sophisticated well-armed enemy, and in Donald Trump’s terms this can only mean China and/or North Korea.

Earlier this year Te Kaha actually put itself under the authority of the USS carrier Nimitz task force in the western Pacific, replacing the USS Fitzgerald, which had been damaged in a collision with a Philippine container ship. Reading our navy’s publicity material, it’s clear the frigate crew got a kick out of playing in the big league – but is that where we really want to be.

We can play a political role as a peacemaker in disputes in the Asia/Pacific, but having NZ frigates as part of a US-led task force runs counter to this.

The Greens have long called for phasing out the frigates. I wish Labour would wake up to the fact that having them is not in New Zealand’s best interest.  The money wasted on them could be better used.

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28 Comments

  1. Lois Griffiths says:

    Thanks for this article Keith.

    We should be untangling ourselves from the American and Israeli military hegemony and instead showing solidarity with American peace groups including CodePink, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, World Beyond War,
    and Black Alliance for Peace.

    Who are the Green Party spokespeople for Foreign Affairs and for Defence?

  2. Lois Griffiths says:

    Thanks for this article Keith.

    We should be untangling ourselves from the American and Israeli military hegemony and instead showing solidarity with American peace groups including CodePink, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, World Beyond War,
    and Black Alliance for Peace.

    Who are the Green Party spokespeople for Foreign Affairs and for Defence?

  3. Sam Sam says:

    Contracts are signed and payment going through. Because New Zealand must prepare for world the U.S can no longer police. And China or North Korea isn’t our number one threat. They are one of our largest trading partners. Believe it or not we have frigates for constabulary duties at sea. Take East Timor as way of for instance. I think it was one of the older lender classes or an ANZAC chased an Indonesian sub out of Timors EEZ. These kind of tactical decisions to with draw 1 of New Zealand’s 3 tier 1 strategic assets have strategic consequences.

    • Draco T Bastard says:

      And China or North Korea isn’t our number one threat. They are one of our largest trading partners.

      That doesn’t mean that they aren’t our number one threat.

      These kind of tactical decisions to with draw 1 of New Zealand’s 3 tier 1 strategic assets have strategic consequences.

      True. We actually need more defensive capability.

      • Sam Sam says:

        Firstly let’s just Assume China is New Zealand’s number one strategic threat to New Zealand’s sovereignty. China’s economic achievement has less to do with globalization. It is related to trade and export. China has gradually become an export-oriented country. No one, myself included, is opposed to exports. But this is not globalization. It is, China has become a factory in the Asian production system. Look at the whole region, it’s very dynamic. China’s export volume is enormous. But there is something we have overlooked. China’s export relies heavily on the exports of Japan, Korea and the US. These countries provide China with high-tech components and technologies. China is just doing the assembly, and labelling the final products as ‘Made in China.’

        China has developed rapidly by following wise policies. But while millions of people were lifted out of poverty, costs such as environmental degradation are high. They are merely transferred to the next generation. Economists will not worry about them, but these are costs that someone needs to pay for ultimately. It may be your children or grandchildren. These have nothing to do with defence.

        Secondly instead of saying “defensive capabilities” I like to call it ‘end game.’ N ew Zealand has very long trade and communications corridors. So fixed positions are less useful to New Zealand’s defence. It’s vital New Zealand can forward deploy either the SAS, P3 Orions, Frigates and be supported with combined arms manoeuvres, or all of the above. And be able to go it alone.

        Thirdly climate change is Mew Zealand’s number 1, 2 and 3 strategic threat to New her economic sovereignty. How ever questions remain on this front as the Washington consensus does not believe in climate change.

        The way I see it is China is our friend and the U.S is our number one strategic ally and climate change is our number 1 strategic threat. And unfortunately coast guards are not designed to operate in contested waters aboard.

        The NZDF 2015-2016 annual report for some cost figured has a pie chart at the top right of page 13… http://www.nzdf.mil.nz/downloads/pdf/public-docs/2015-2016-nzdf-annual-report.pdf

        It listed for components for the budget of NZD$2.459 bln. as follows:
        * Capital Charge 18%
        * Depreciation 15%
        * Operating 30%
        * Personnel 37%

        Vote Defence budget is stated to be about 30% higher than what NZDF receives in real terms. This makes NZDF budget for the time period was vs. NZ’s approximate GDP (PPP), and the Vote Defence amount was only ~1% GDP, with the NZDF budget in real terms being an “extravagant” 0.67% GDP.

        There might be a notional NZD$20 bil. CAPEX spend available to reach Future2035 goals, but it does seem like what will be available for Operating and Personnel expenditures will still be quite limited.

        On a potential plus side though, this could drive the NZDF to purchase more upscale kit than is has been, to gain the most capabilities without needing to increase personnel and/or operating costs. An example of what I mean would be like replacing the HMNZS Endeavour with something the MSC vessel. They are similar in capability and crew requirements, but the MSC has a hanger, can carry more stores and personal, and has significantly better offensive, defensive and supporting systems.

  4. Steve Earnshaw says:

    Lets face the facts, just about every hardware purchase made by the defense dept since the 70’s has been a failure.
    These newish boats are nothing but a money pit and will likely never be required for their intended purpose. To be honest, we’d be lucky if they could defend us from the Navy of Fiji anyway. They make no use of the goods they have against illegal fishing either. They just follow them around and do nothing. Hey, you could do that in a canoe.

    Helicopters that don’t operate in the snow. Steyr’s to replace M-16’s, what the hell were they thinking there? An AK would have been a much better bet. The useless LAV’s, the list goes on.
    None of the replacements were anywhere near as good as what they replaced
    The only saving grace i can see is the fairly recent purchase of some M-249 SAW’s

    Who’s going to attack us anyway? Let them come. There are more firearms in this country than people. We’ll hold them at the beach.

    Time to get the hell out of the UN so we no longer forced to waste this money.

    • Draco T Bastard says:

      These newish boats are nothing but a money pit and will likely never be required for their intended purpose.

      They have been required for their intended purpose – and failed at it.

      We obviously need to boost that capability rather than making it even less.

      Helicopters that don’t operate in the snow. Steyr’s to replace M-16’s, what the hell were they thinking there?

      Which helicopters were those? Our new replacement assault rifles aren’t the Steyr’s.

      If we thought about it we’d do what the US does and not have anything that wasn’t produced in NZ with NZ resources. The US actually understands that defence forces need to be maintained from within the country that they’re defending.

      Who’s going to attack us anyway?Let them come. There are more firearms in this country than people. We’ll hold them at the beach.

      If China or the US comes then the number of farmers with guns won’t stop them. In Iraq, something like 70% of the population were armed.

      We actually need the capability to stop them reaching the beach. Preferably about 2000km out.

      Time to get the hell out of the UN so we no longer forced to waste this money.

      Non sequitur.

      Actually, being part of the UN and actually helping enforce its charter is what we need to be doing. We’ve forgotten that over the last few decades as the US used it as their pawn.

      • Steve Earnshaw says:

        1) Yes, they failed. They had the capability to sink it but didn’t. No point having it if you aren’t going to use it. No point spending more if you still aren’t going to use it.

        2)The ones that replaced the huey’s
        http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/6739387/New-airforce-NH-90-helicopters-flawed
        The Steyr replaced the Vietnam era M-16 we had. Funny that they now return to an AR-15 platform rifle after finding that the Steyr was no good at range
        https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/93704972/new-59-weapons-package-begins-defence-force-rollout

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Machine_and_Tool_Company

        3) If the US or China comes we neither have the man power or the money to buy enough to stop them. Best we build a nuke for that scenario.

        Farmers with guns, that’s funny. There are copious amounts of assault rifles in the country. All the ex defense force AR’s for starters. Wasn’t that long ago you could purchase AK’s by the crate at discounted prices at the local gun shops

        4) The UN is a joke and we need to have no part in it. Especially the part that demands we spend a percentage of GDP on military.
        Yes, the US do use it as their pawn but will also attack without their mandate. Iraq for example

        • Sam Sam says:

          New Zealand has tier 1 strategic assets that can operate in contested environments ranging from political instability up to open warfare.

          And I don’t know what your problems are with the NH-90. They have greater range, payload and survivability than the airframe they replaced. It’s also taken ten years because of cost pressures in order to certify them for deck ops.

          And the Styre replaced the 7.62 L1A1 or as it was affectionately known as the SLR for upgrade reasons. This change in attitude was due to availability of ammunition.

          Side note: according to wiki only 50 million AK rounds were produced and even less rounds are available to western countries. Almost all know stocks were purchased for The Afganistan military. Hence to push for the 5.56 NATO round because there’s sufficient stockpiles available.

          An zero fucken nukes. We just spent the last 30 years moving from the nuclear umbrella to the 5i’s umbrella at a cost of around $100mln per year. Computing power is were its at now interms of strategic capability. Simply we will never have enough access to missile technology to deny adversaries the use of new Zealand’s sea lanes. Which is why New Zealand focuses on small, nimble, focused, coward deployed forces, instead of “access denial forces.”

          Further, Veitnam, Iraqi inssurgents, Somali warlords, ISIS, Sun Tzu, regularly prove that small beats strong.

          This just goes to show your fundamental lack of knowledge around defence issues. After the Land wars it was said New Zealand didn’t need a defence force, because a 19th century military could barley beat an 18th century military and believed in its superiority. Attitudes towards the military have been very low every since. Then WW1 happened. And a lot of service people died because of this attitude towards defence. It was said after WW1 that we don’t need a military and should draw down. Then WW2 happened. And a lot of service people died unnessearly. And this attitude persists.

          With out a conflict to test military outputs it takes years to figure out if you’re right or not. And even then an adversary can do things a little different and the game of turning resources inputs into capability outputs start all over again. And we can’t remain station on defence decades defence will evolve over time.

          Eisenhower said every war will surprise you and climate change is no different.

          • Steve Earnshaw says:

            If you don’t know what my problem with the NH-90 is, obviously you never bothered to visit the link provided.
            A newer version of what we had would have been a better bet and that is not up for discussion.
            http://www.bellhelicopter.com/military/bell-uh-1y

            I forgot completely about the insignificant SLR. As previously mentioned, they went from an AR platform gun to junk and then more junk and back to an AR platform gun. That says it all.

            I wouldn’t believe every “fact” you read on wiki either.
            I find it highly doubtful there would be a shortage of ammo for one of the most produced weapons ever. I would also doubt there would be supply issues if purchasing direct from Russia or China, perhaps from a western country.

            Bit testy on the nukes eh. Fact remains, you don’t get attacked if you have the ability to defend yourself. You forget we are building our own rockets here now. Shouldn’t take too much to arm one.
            We focus on peace keeping because that is about all we are equipped to do.

            Yeah, we were certainly suckered into a couple of bankers wars. Lets not go there again. Out focus should be on defending ourselves, not attacking others for some one else’s gain.

            No point in throwing climate change in at the end. I don’t believe that lie either. All wars are bankers wars would have been a more fitting end statement.

            • Sam Sam says:

              Previous defence white papers called for 18 UH-1s to support NZDF operations. So that’s 6 air frames in support of battalion sized elements. The next one along, the UH-1Y was assessed as to expensive to operate so we went with the Dar more capable and less numerous option of the NH-90. Some other contenders that submitted request for information (RFI) Chinnoks, UH-90, Eurocopter, LUH. All accessed as not meeting New Zealand’s requirements except for the LUH which RNZAF has 5 of, all in limited training and constabulary, VIP roles.

              And no. I don’t listen to what the fucken MSM has to say about defence. Because they lie about defence to sell papers because they know it triggers normies.

              And Russia doesn’t have a shortage of AK ammo. Western economies do have the problem.

              And I will point to the Outer Space and High Altitude bill that precludes sending weapons of any kind at a level of 70ks above the surface. That would limit New Zealand’s ability to deploy missile tech to tactical platforms flat trajectories from vehicle like the F35, Arleigh Burk destroyers, or theatre level missile systems. All with price tags north of 1 billion fucken dollars. Just as an example a typical Burk flight3 destroyer carries $200mln worth of ordnance. Totally not what New Zealand is looking to get into.

              I mean big yawn!!!

              • Steve Earnshaw says:

                Have you heard of false economy? If i want to go fast, i need a fast car. Fast cars are expensive to run and maintain. If im going to moan about that and buy a car that doesn’t go that fast, its not fit for purpose.

                NZ has a bad habit of taking the cheap option. This is plainly obvious in all the junk we end up with. You want the best helicopter, you have to pay for it. You get what you pay for.
                Look at the cheap Chinese trains. Lucky we didn’t have to foot the bill to fix them. What we did lose was Hillside Workshops and any future ability to make our own. All the experienced workers either went on a benefit or left the country.

                I don’t go to msm either. The Stuff article was just at the top of the list in my search results.

                Perhaps we shouldn’t have signed that bill. No doubt forced upon us by some stupid club we are a member of. The speed limit is 100kph and everyone abides by that, eh.

                And you can add that F-35 to the junk list too, and we wouldn’t even be able to afford one of them.

              • Sam Sam says:

                Technological economies of scale has moved along in recent years particularly around data and batteries to the point now any one can have access to what was previously in the hands of the military, data centres, GPS guidance, learning artificial intelligence.

                Artificial intelligence that could learn on its own was said to be decades away. When in actual fact it’s become the play thing of young content creators producing memes, and overlaying celebrity faces on to porn stars with open source algorithms, for free in apps stores. People go on about Russia interfering in U.S elections. Well no one comes any where near what these youngsters are doing interms a viral-ability.

                No longer are there one platforms dominating the battle fields. They are system level events now that incorporates Army, Navy, Air Force, Intelligence, Other government agencies, civil agencies, private firms, the public. And each one has to be able to interact with the others at any given time. As well as being able to interact with foreign equivalents on friendly or non friendly terms. For example, HMNZS Canterbury can embark 4 NH-90’s but only has 2 landing spots, so can only support 2 at a time with spares and no aviation maintenance. That’s a bit of a contradiction. Keeping in mind the Canterbury came about because of the failure that was the Charles Upham landing platform dock, another failed commercial conversion for military outputs.

                Take missiles for instance. It’s cheaper to spam long range dumb rockets (unguided) than it is to come up with a missile counter measure that costs on average 10 times more than dumb rockets. So the Palestinians can produce rockets for about $1200 and isreal spent $1bln just in R&D for its iron dome system based on the U.S Patriot missile system. Let’s just say the Palestinians create some sort of device that can disrupt the iron domes tracking signals, it would take another $1bln to create a work around on average.

                So moving forward electronic warfare will be the defining attribute of 21st century warfare. Previously philosophers had prognosticated that sticks and stones would define 21st or 22nd century warfare. Well I disagree for the reasons above. The ability to disrupt an adversaries communications and ability to track targets can make 1bln dollar systems combat ineffective for a fraction of the price.

                For these reasons New Zealanders should appreciate and protect the ability to know.

                • Steve Earnshaw says:

                  We are well out of our league in this game and therefore shouldn’t be participating. Hence the need to withdraw from the UN.
                  We will not be attacking anyone and no one will be attacking us so stop the waste of money.

                  A US military official recently stated that there was no guarantee that they could prevent a missile strike on Pearl Harbor. Of the two rockets recently launched into Israel, one got through. 50% success rate. One of their F-35’s was hit too.

                  Yes, you are correct on the electronic warfare. The US should be very afraid of an EMP strike

                • Sam Sam says:

                  Standing in place while people attack or attack your friends is a stupid plan.

                  Patriot missile systems have problems tracking supersonic missiles head on. But because of sequestration no upgrade package has been funded because the U.S is broke. Just by way of for instance. Before the U.S started anti piracy programmes Asia was the most pirate infested area in the world. With out the U.S this balance in impossible to maintain. In contrast when CAMM-M (being installed on the ANZAC frigates) was being developed by the British they’d shoot 4.5inch navel gun shells at it for a 7 out of 10 successful intercept rate. That was back in the 80’s and CAMM’s has gone through several upgrade packages since. Further it’s only a mayptter of time before the U.S start pulling back on its international obligations. Obama put a cap on foreign troops, Trump wants more troops they just don’t have the money. Some thing like at least 4 times as many troops are in Syria than officially stated and budgeted for.

                  And the award for useless gesture of 2017 goes to the United Nations.

                  And not a single fuck was given that day.

                  I think that the Chinese may just end up invading and occupying North Korea to keep the buffer up between South Korea and China. These are some of our largest trading partners. So what? You just want to pretend to be friends and when things get a tiny bit hard we pretend we never new them. Geopolitics don’t work that way. And it Depends where the deployment are , within the South Pacific it will not need a Frigate, out side the SP and it will be a multinational deployment anyway.

                  Face it. Things are not going to happen they way you think it should. Something like Kobe cattle farmers are pretty pissed with the US market labelling meat they bought elsewhere “Kobe beef,” so I expect other countries will start pushing this too soon enough.

                  So IMHO the $20bln CAPEX furure35 goals will fund the procurement of:

                  * 3x ANZAC replacement frigates approximately 3000 tones (FFC)
                  * 6x P-8 Poseidon, P3 replacement (FMPC)
                  * C130/B737 replacement (FAMC)
                  * HMNZS Canterbury replacement
                  * Defence buildings upgrades
                  * Light combat fighter trainer
                  * Improved cyber warfare
                  * Communications upgrades

                  You can read more in the DWP16. NZFirst and Labour have already agreed on the direction of NZDF. The only ones having a sulk about it are tree hugging Greens with ZERO experience in this area.

                  • Steve Earnshaw says:

                    You should face some facts. We have no ability to stand for anybody unless it is against a place smaller than ourselves.

                    Yes, the US is broke and going down the toilet. Happy days. Its going to be very entertaining watching them defend Israel against every other country in the middle east and at the same time doing their best to provoke a confrontation with NK.
                    At the same time they will be having to defend Ukraine against Russia when Ukraine decide to try and take the Donbass. Putin has stated he won’t stand by and allow a slaughter.
                    Therefore, we need to remain neutral and not get drawn into conflict created by US foreign policy. They are not our friends and they will drag us down with them.

                    Yes, the UN is the most useless outfit on the planet and we need not be a part of it.

                    China will not invade NK. They will however defend them if the US attacks first. You can expect Russia will be with China and they are currently conducting exercises on the NK border.

                    Replacement warships are a complete waste of money. What we could afford wouldn’t stop anyone getting here.
                    And they won’t even fire on an illegal fishing boat.

                  • Sam Sam says:

                    Hey Steve. You’re being delusional. The frigate combat system upgrade has been payed in full and will be fully operational in 6 months or so.

                    Whether you’re for or against the DWP16, I think we should appreciate the fact that the government got voted in to maintain current military funding out to future35 goals, by 2 to 1. democracy in lower case?

                    Saying we don’t need frigates because we can only defeat poachers doesn’t make it true is plot armour bro. It’s like you’ve placed a magic protection order around us that means no one can see us.

                    You don’t even understand that the protector fleet is over hyped. The protector fleet of multirole vessel, 2xOPV, 4xIPV is only put to sea a third of the time that was advertised to sell these unicorns to the public. You can’t even see any design flaws in vessels you can tolerate let alone eyeing design flaws in vessels you can’t tolerate.

                    I’ll repeat it again. New Zealand will protect its self from a falling America and a rising China by maintaining an independent foreign policy and defence force consisting of all of the above.

                    I mean if we keep treating NZDF like they can’t do anything then shore they won’t be able to do anything. And we won’t be able to do anything on climate change.

                    If we pretend the outside world doesn’t exist then they will think we don’t exist and come for our resources. And it’s happened before with colonisation. And it will happen again with climate change for all the reasons above.

                    • Steve Earnshaw says:

                      ” the government got voted in to maintain current military funding ”

                      What a load of rubbish. Id bet that military spending had nothing to do with how anyone voted.

                      I didn’t say we can only beat poachers. I said we can’t even do that.
                      Give me one of those ships and i’ll show you how its done. I work on a simple 3 step process. I’ll ask you then i’ll tell you then i’ll make you. Heave to, warning shot then sunk.

                      Be thankful im not Prime Minister. The US and the UN would have both got the middle finger on my first day.

                      And i’ll tell you another thing. If the US start a nuclear war with Nk and destroy most of the planet, they wouldn’t want to be coming anywhere near my beach, looking for sanctuary, flying a US flag. They won’t be making shore while i still stand.

                    • Sam Sam says:

                      Yawn!!!

                      Ron Marks got the defence portfolio because he got the votes. The Greens didn’t.

                      I mean seriously do you actually think people like me are dumb or something? Or do you think it’s crazy spending a billion dollars on CFMR, PSU? We’re not doing this for some kind of political stunt. It’s being done because of perceived threats around climate change and political instability.

                      Every one is running out of resources because they spent the previous 100 years of economic progress on dumb shit. You know Obama’s policies probably ended the economic boom that sustained the U.S after WW2 to now.

                      And we’re not getting in the middle of a nuclear fucking pissing contest. But that doesn’t mean it won’t effect us.

                      Do your u understand or is this going into some kind of therapy session. If so I’m out.

                    • Steve Earnshaw says:

                      Yes, i think people like you are dumb. This military spend is a complete waste of money and necessitated only due to our membership to the UN and to fit in with US military doctrine.

                      Fact remains, after the spend up, we still couldn’t defend the country from squat.

                    • Sam Sam says:

                      Well I’v survived the state housing purge of 2017. Maybe I’m not pressing my world view hard enough. Would be more of a badge of honour by loving service men and woman, Capitalism kiwi style and Aotearoa New Zealand.

                    • Steve Earnshaw says:

                      Guess what i found this morning while trawling the internet? A petition to abolish the UN.
                      I have signed it and if you wish to do so you can find the link on this page, second item down in the center column.
                      http://presscore.ca/two-constitutions-in-the-united-states-1st-was-illegally-suspended-in-favor-of-a-vatican-crown-corporation-in-1871

  5. CLEANGREEN says:

    “Endeavour” is to be scrapped in March 2018 and we need to but a new ship at $600 million in 2020, but wat do we use for a fuel tanker until then??????

    • Sam Sam says:

      I mean this requires an answer imo.

      Displacing 24,000 tons fully loaded the Maritime Sustainment Capability (MSC) vessel is approximately 12,000 tons heavier than her predecessor the HMNZS Endeavour. Designed to embark an NH90 in its hanger as well as being ice strengthened for Antarctic missions. It’s also designed to support larger land and sea deployments.

      One of the draw backs of the current OPV’s is when they have Helicopters embarked the weight pushes the water line above its steel belt making it dangerous to take a helicopter on arctic patrols. So RNZN procurement officers have sort to address this capability gap with the new MSC.

      Additional while on deployment near the Arabian gulf a sea Sprite helicopter embarked on one of our ANZACs (a few years back now) malfunctioned days after arriving in its patrol area. Replacement parts could not be flown out and neither could the helicopter be flown back or a replacement helo be flown out. It wasn’t until the ANZAC arrived back in NZ that the helo could be repaired, 6 months after living port. Making flight ops combat ineffective. The MSC seeks to address some of these short falls in capability outputs.

  6. Denny Paoa says:

    Need to turn the Navy into a CoastGuard Service. Hunting illegal fishers, doing the Maritime Fisheries job & supporting the Pacific Islands when they get hit by hurricanes/cyclones for disaster support/relief.

    It’ll be cheaper & a ROI for the taxpayers and the seamen & women will get out to sea more!

    • Draco T Bastard says:

      Need to turn the Navy into a CoastGuard Service.

      Nope. We need both but our necessary coast guard would put our present navy to shame. It would be far more powerful, have many more ships which would be far more powerful and actually be used.

  7. Draco T Bastard says:

    $639 million upgrade poses question of whether we need frigates

    No it doesn’t.

    It poses the question of if our previous government was capable of getting a good deal or not. It seems that they weren’t

    Instead of racing ahead with this expensive upgrade – 70% up on the original $374 million budgeted cost – the Labour/NZ First Cabinet should have reassessed whether we really need frigates.

    Indications are that we do. In fact, indications are that we need bigger warships. Ones that are actually capable of defending NZ waters.

    The current upgrade – for missile defence, radar detection and torpedo decoys – is only needed against a sophisticated well-armed enemy, and in Donald Trump’s terms this can only mean China and/or North Korea.

    Or the US itself.

    We really do need to be able to defend ourselves. This isn’t optional.

    The Greens have long called for phasing out the frigates. I wish Labour would wake up to the fact that having them is not in New Zealand’s best interest. The money wasted on them could be better used.

    On that the Greens are wrong. And the latter statement is a false dichotomy.

    the reason why we can’t ‘afford’ stuff is because of capitalism – not because we have a minor capability of defence which is less than what we need.

  8. Historian Pete says:

    We are at war- a war on poverty.That should be our first priority.New Zealanders are dying because resources are being wasted on N.Z war forces.They are not defence forces.When every person in the country has a decent affordable house to live in,adequate income, and social services that cater for the population, is the time to concern ourselves with “Defence Forces”!