INDEPENDENT NEWS

Defence Equipment Upgrade Will Boost Army Morale

Published: Thu 14 Dec 2000 11:59 AM
Defence Equipment Upgrade Will Boost Army Morale – Massey Defence Analysts Say
Two Massey University defence analysts say the Minister of Defence has given the New Zealand Defence Force a wonderful Christmas present, one that is much needed and long overdue. The Hon Mark Burton's announcement that the New Zealand Army will receive 308 new Light Operational Vehicles (LOVs) to replace its obsolete landrovers has garnered praise from Dr Piers Reid and Dr Joel Hayward.
Dr Reid, a former Chief of General Staff and now a Massey defence lecturer, said that the terrible road conditions in places such as East Timor and Bougainville have highlighted the glaring need for a more robust and capable cross-country vehicle.
Dr Joel Hayward, a Senior Lecturer in Defence and Strategic Studies, agrees with Dr Reid and adds that this purchase will do wonders for morale in the Defence Force. Personnel have been waiting quite some time now for a government prepared to actually spend money to make them safe, credible and effective when they deploy overseas.
The LOVs, along with the new LAVIII armoured personnel vehicles and radio communication equipment, will significantly upgrade New Zealand's ability to contribute to the cause of peace and stability in our region.
Both analysts agree that, regardless of partisan positions in the "specialist versus balanced force" debate, one must see the current political commitment to the NZ Defence Force as a real investment in defence. Not only has our valuable peacekeeping role in East Timor been extended for at least another year, but the Government is now seriously investing in the quality equipment our forces need.
This purchase makes abundantly clear that New Zealand is prepared to make hard but necessary procurement decisions in defence. Dr Reid said that this should be particular welcome news to the Navy and the Air Force as they await the outcome of capability reviews about their own future needs. -- ---------------------------------------- Dr Joel Hayward, Senior Lecturer and Programme Co-ordinator of Defence and Strategic Studies, School of History, Philosophy and Politics, Massey University, Private Bag 11-222, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Tel.: NZ 06 350 4234 Fax: NZ 06 350 5662 Email: J.S.Hayward@massey.ac.nz ----------------------------------------

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