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Defence Force passes UFO buck to police

Thursday 31 Mar 2011 5:16 p.m.

By Emma Jolliff

The Defence Force says it's no longer going to take any interest in sightings of unidentified flying objects.

It's not even willing to file them.

But as a parting gift to the UFO enthusiasts, it's made public the last three volumes from almost 60 years of files to date. Be warned though - it says there's nothing in any of the files worth investigating.

The latest three volumes of UFO files contain yet more copies of eyewitness accounts of sightings, drawings, and correspondence with Defence. They join the 2000-odd pages released in December, dating from 1952.

New Zealand's most famous UFO sighting was off the coast of Kaikoura in 1978. UFOs were seen following a freight plane, and it's one of the world's best-documented sightings.

But there's been a change in the language - Defence now calls UFOs 'UAS', or 'unidentified aerial sightings'.

UFO expert Murray Bott says it rightly removes suggestions of extra-terrestrial life forms.

"More than 90 percent of reports, after close scrutiny become IFOs, or identified flying objects," he says.

And now Defence is washing its hands of the sightings and no longer wants to know if you've seen one.

"The NZDF does not have any role or expertise in respect of UAS," it said today, "nor does it devote resources to record or investigate them and it has no evidence to substantiate the existence of these alleged phenomena."

"People report so many strange things, including UFOs, that it's outside the boundaries of what they're set up for," says Mr Bott.

But while Defence doesn't believe in little green men, two Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977 are still out looking for extra-terrestrial life forms beyond our solar system.

They carry golden discs containing a medley of sounds from Earth, including Chuck Berry's hit 'Johnny B Goode'.

Only this month, one spacecraft was rotated from Earth for the first time in 21 years in order for scientists to get new photos.

Defence says any UAS here should now be referred to police.

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