“New Zealand taxpayers have coughed up $33 million worth of repairs for the New Zealand Defence Force’s two Boeings in less than a year,” says ACT’s Defence spokesperson Dr James McDowall.

“They’re now so unreliable that the Prime Minister can’t travel in one of them without having the other one following as a spare in case they lose one or it breaks. New Zealand’s out of date air fleet is becoming a source of national embarrassment.

“Last year ACT revealed that $70 million was spent on maintenance and repairs between 2017 and mid 2022. Less than a year since then and a further $33 million has been spent. The planes are breaking down more and costing more as time passes.

“The reason we’re stuck with these clunkers is because the Government is underinvesting in defence. At the moment we’re lucky to be able to successfully get off the tarmac let alone defend ourselves, our allies and our values in today’s increasingly volatile strategic environment.

“ACT would address this by committing two per cent of GDP to Defence spending.

“Our Defence force is full of hardworking Kiwis who want to protect and serve their country. We need to give our brave men and women the tools and resources they need. This kind of targeted spending would send a message to the rest of the world.

“The target of two per cent of GDP is what all of our traditional allies, including Australia, are committed to and would demonstrate the seriousness with which we take our defence obligations.

“This is the kind of valuable spending that government should be doing, protecting our country and aligning us with our allies.”

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