28 Nov 2012

Labour tries to pin blame for crash on cost-cutting

7:57 pm on 28 November 2012

The Labour Party is trying to point the finger at Government cost-cutting as a factor in the 2010 Anzac Day helicopter crash that killed three airmen.

The Iroquois crashed into a hillside at Pukerua Bay, near Wellington, while en route to a dawn ceremony in the capital. A fourth person was seriously injured.

In Parliament on Wednesday, Labour's defence spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway asked Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman about a Defence Force report on the crash.

He asked Dr Coleman if the report indicated that the decision not to have the crew accommodated in Wellington the night before, which he says is standard practice, was to avoid costs of about $600.

But Dr Coleman said the Court of Inquiry, which used the same report, did not identify budgetary considerations as a cause of the crash.

The court found that the Air Force had a culture of rule-breaking and inadequately-trained squadrons.