Thursday, August 02, 2018

A colossal waste of money II

How much of a waste of money is the government's decision to blow $2.3 billion on high-tech American sub-hunting aircraft? An OIA request through FYI, the public OIA request site, has shown just how mythical the submarine "threat" actually is: while NZDF's record keeping is typically awful, the last time they say they detected a submarine with the Orions outside of an exercise was in 1998. The last time they detected a non-friendly submarine was in 1989: almost thirty years ago. They apparently haven't even bothered recording it since 2010, though they say that "submarine detections were still being reported orally on occasion".

So, that's how important sub-hunting is to NZDF: not important enough to document or record, but supposedly important enough to spend $2.3 billion on.

New Zealand has a clear need for maritime surveillance aircraft to perform fisheries patrols and search and rescue. But we don't need hi-tech sub-hunters. NZDF openly admits that when they say in their white paper that they can see no immediate threats, and that they expect a decade to rearm if one appears, so there's no need to spend this money now. The additional capability to fight this mythical threat is costing us about a billion dollars, and that's a billion dollars that could be better spent elsewhere at present.