INDEPENDENT NEWS

Inquiry Overdue Into Defence Expenditure

Published: Thu 7 Dec 2000 03:54 PM
Independent Inquiry Overdue Into Defence Expenditure
New Zealand First spokesman for Defence Ron Mark, has called for an inquiry into expenditure within the Defence Department.
Mr Mark has sought this course of action after having elicited, by way of a series of parliamentary questions, that the Chief of General Staff, Major General Dodson, has spent $140,000.00 on 18 overseas trips, many in the company of his wife, and when allowances and costs for travelling officials are added, may well top $250,000.00.
“It is ironic,” he said, “that at a time when the army is undergoing severe financial constraint, so much so that its soldiers cannot be given even a small increase in their meager pay, the boss is swanning about the globe like a millionaire, living the life of Reilly”.
“I am told that he is regularly seen on the best golf courses, and the finest cocktail party circuit,” said Mr Mark.
“I am at a loss to understand quite what these practices have to do with running a Defence Force. I have also been advised that the Major General was, until I started asking these questions, about to fly off to Hawaii with his wife for a two-week stay, without any military appointments whatsoever having been made,” he said.
“There are gross excesses and wastage occurring within Defence spending at present, and I believe the only way for these matters to be seriously addressed is for a full inquiry to be conducted. I am urging the Defence Minister, Hon Mark Burton, to move in this direction as quickly as possible before the Government has cause to regret its inaction,” Mr Mark concluded.
Ends.

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