NZ troops ‘beg for, borrow or steal’ decent gear – full interview

  • 29/08/2012

A private security operative working in Afghanistan says the New Zealand military has to ‘beg for, borrow or steal’ equipment and it’s not just Humvees they’re cutting costs on.  

Jack Waldron, who himself survived an IED explosion, says the New Zealand Government and military officials need to supply troops with better gear or more lives will be lost.

Waldron spoke frankly with 3 News earlier in the week about the realities of working in a war-zone, in the wake of the recent deaths of five Kiwi soldiers.

He says New Zealand troops have cheap, archaic gear and are "easy targets" for insurgents, compared with the Americans who always where Kevlar helmets, goggles, special gloves and body armour.

“I see kiwi troops day in, day out – although it looks cool – they’ll have a headset on with no helmet. It’s just stupid and comes down to poor leadership or poor funding.”

He says Humvees – the vehicle three Kiwi soldiers were killed in this month – are a good logistics vehicle but not safe in the frontline.

“The Humvees must go. We’ve been targeted by the Taliban. We’re a soft target and the easy target,’ he says.

“The Americans got rid of that vehicle in 2007 because the IED threats were killing their soldiers in big numbers.”

New Zealand’s Humvees are handoffs from the Americans, says Waldron, and were likely given for free.

Waldron says troops using Humvees are “asking to be blown up”.

“They are very cheap and you are almost laughed at in the Middle East now if you are cruising past in an armoured vehicle in a red zone.”

In his opinion, the New Zealand military are cheap-skates who will “beg, borrow or steal” for equipment.

“We are probably one of the only coalition forces over there that are rolling around in the antiquated Humvees.”

Waldron says Defence Force claims that no vehicle could’ve survived the recent deadly bomb blast are "bullshit". 

“What our chief of Defence Force has neglected to say to the public is that there are a number of different MRAPs (mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles) that are available in Afghanistan and can be brought in.”

Despite the area being relatively low-threat, it is not an excuse to give New Zealand troops substandard equipment, he says.

“If the Kiwis continue to ride around in these vehicles, we will continue to see more bloodshed amongst our own. If the Taliban wanted to take us out, it’s just another day in the office for them.”

He says it comes down to poor leadership over there and poor funding from the Government.

3 News

source: newshub archive