18 Dec 2013

Labour says SAS buying own gear

8:48 pm on 18 December 2013

Labour says SAS troops are not receiving equipment they need for combat and are using their own money to buy it online.

Labour Party leader Phil Goff.

Labour Party leader Phil Goff. Photo: RNZ

During the court martial of an SAS soldier last week, the accused said he did not return military gear which he mistook for gear he bought himself.

During the hearing, the trooper said he spent more than $US15,000 of his own money on tactical and protective equipment for weapon modification.

Labour's defence spokesperson Phil Goff says the Government is responsibile for providing soldiers with the best equipment to keep them safe. He says the fact the soldier bought his own suggests that the Government is failing in that responsibility.

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman says the comments are based on the dishonest testimony of a soldier convicted for stealing from the Defence Force. He says soldiers commonly buy military equipment which they personally prefer to standard issue gear.

A former chief of the Defence Force also says there is nothing unusual about Special Air Service soldiers buying their own equipment.

Major-General Lou Gardiner says there is a culture of soldiers buying and swapping amongst themselves and the SAS is well resourced.