Government forking out over $100m for armoured vehicles

The Government's forked out more than $100 million to buy a fleet of brand-new armoured vehicles for the army.

It's an investment Defence Minister Ron Mark says will save Kiwi soldiers' lives.

The Bushmaster armoured vehicle is replacing the ageing Pinzgauers, which were bought in the mid-2000s.

"I've got my own personal opinions on why it was bought back then - but the fact is they did and it is obsolete, no longer fit for purpose anywhere," Mark says.

Mark announced the fleet of 43 vehicles will equip the Queen Alexandra’s Mounted Rifles - his old unit.

They'll be used in a range of missions, from assisting police in armed incidents to transporting troops in combat zones.

What makes the Bushmasters so unique is their ability to withstand gunfire and improvised explosive devices.

"It's got a v-shaped hole which disperses the blast and gives greater protection for the troops inside," says Chief of Army Major-General John Boswell.

The army has 43 of these armoured vehicles, which can seat up to 10 people, on order, with the first delivery expected in 2022.

So far the signs are those 10 inside will be safe. According to Maj-Gen Boswell, Australian records show there have been over 100 strikes and no fatalities. 

And that's just what the Minister bought the Australian-built vehicles for. But he does have a problem with the order that he needs to address - the seat covers are Australian camouflage.

"I think I will have a word with my counterpart Linda Reynolds and say 'you just snuck one in on me, girl'," Mark says.

All going to plan, the full fleet - with a Kiwi touch - is expected to be operational from 2023.