Many of you may have read my article earlier in the week about our border being exposed over the water. If not you can read it HERE
I read this NZ Herald article earlier today which emphasised the issue. I didn't know as to what extent the issue ran, but the NZ Herald reports that "our Navy Knocked back almost half of customs' requests between August 2015 and September 2016 for help checking out suspicious small craft because the aircraft and ships needed were being replaced, repaired or undergoing maintenance."
What a load of rubbish our Inshore Navy vessels HMNZS Pukaki, and HMNZS Taupo, haven't left the wharf since 2012, and 2013 respectively until at least April 2016 anyway. The reasons for this were noted as "Staff Shortages"
Minister for Defence, Gerry Brownlee needs to front on these issues. It is likely to be one of the reasons why there is a lot of drugs in the market place and lots of drugs being found on our shores. When will these excuses stop? There is no excuse for these actions in my opinion.
The defence force's key responsibilities is to protect New Zealand. If our Navy can't respond to all customs requests then the minister needs to ask WHY? What if one of the suspicious small crafts were harbouring terrorists? Drug Runners? People Smugglers?
Why do we have such small numbers of resources available to be utilised in domestic duties? This is something that haunts me. My father disappeared in 2014 and it took the police 6 Days before they even requested an Orian to assist in the search, and when they requested an Orian didn't know the process. This is surprising considering the effectiveness of such an asset.
I later found out that New Zealand may own 6 Airforce Orion's we only have the resources to ever have 2 in the air. Add ontop of this the issues with navy and I think we have an extremely depleted defence force.
We once could stand tall for our defence force but its become a bit of a laughing stock.
Minister Brownlee, earlier this year said the government was committed to spending $20 Billion dollars on Defence including a new offshore patrol vessel. We wouldn't need this if the Offshore Patrol Vessels weren't tasked to do the jobs of the Inshore Patrol Vessels.
But back to the herald's article at the top is the Defence Force saying that HMNZS Pukaki and HMNZS Taupo have been out of action since 2012 and 2013 respectively due to maintenance? Or is it a lack of maintenance? Are they no longer able to take to sea? These vessels are relatively new and built to a fairly high specification to cover our EEZ.
I think it's time a new agency is created and all of this information is pushing for it. We have the assets, we just need a new domesticated agency to take over them.
There is no logical reason to continue down this path unless there are different motives behind it. We can speculate all we want. But why would the Ministry of Defence decline almost half of requests from Customs in regards to suspicious small crafts?
Posted by D Blair, Hamilton @ 11:08PM 07/01/2017