Wednesday, July 04, 2018

A colossal waste of money

That's the only way to describe the government's expected purchase of US sub-hunting aircraft:

The Government is expected to announce it is buying a new fleet of Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft next week.

Cabinet will make its final decision on the purchase of up to four of the planes, estimated to cost up to $2 billion, to replace the ageing P-3 Orions on Monday. The announcement will follow the release of the strategic defence policy statement on Friday.

Defence Minister Ron Mark has strongly signalled the Government will go ahead with the purchase of the P-8s, which would give New Zealand increased reconnaissance capabilities, especially when it comes to hunting submarines.

New Zealand unquestionably needs maritime surveillance aircraft - we use them for maritime search & rescue, fisheries patrols, and damage assessment after tropical cyclones. But we don't need high-tech sub-hunters, for the simple reason that we are not threatened by submarines. Seriously, where are these mythical submarines they are expected to find? And if this fantasised threat is expected to exist not now, but a decade or two in the future, then that suggests that we get the hugely expensive sub-hunting electronics (which makes up a huge chunk of the inflated cost of these aircraft) in that decade or two, not now.

Basicly, high-end military equipment in the absence of any real threat is a vanity purchase. All it does is allow generals to feel like they're keeping up with the Aussies, while enabling them to get involved in more American wars. There are far better things we could be spending that money on, like schools, hospitals, and state houses, which will make far of a difference to the safety of New Zealanders than expensive, pointless sub-hunting electronics ever will. We should ditch this contract and buy something cheaper which actually serves our needs.