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Defence Force missing dozens of items, including guns, grenades

Tuesday 25 Dec 2012 4:20 p.m.

A 3 News investigation has revealed tens of thousands of dollars worth of military equipment has gone missing.

The list of missing items includes two rifles, a pistol, a rocket, and a number of practice grenades.

But that's not all.

The Defence Force is refusing to reveal 24 significant items that are missing, because it says that could be a threat to national security.

Labour defence spokesman Iain Lees-Galloway says the revelation is concerning.

“If those items have gone missing in New Zealand that means they're out there somewhere and the Defence Force doesn't know where they are,” he says.  “That is a huge concern to public safety.”

More than 80 different items are missing in total, including four kits of body armour, a practice rocket, five bayonets, and even a keg.  The list also includes numerous computer and communication devices that have been lost or stolen.

Mr Lees-Galloway says the Defence Force should take responsibility for the losses.

“Clearly some of this equipment has fallen into the wrong hands,” he says.  “It's happening too often and I think the Defence Force needs to tighten up its game.”

Nobody from the defence force would front for an interview, and instead released the following statement.

“The NZ Defence Force takes every measure to prevent the loss of stores and equipment,” the statement reads.  “However, considering the large number of personnel and the amount of equipment used on a daily basis it is not unexpected that some equipment is lost or unaccounted for."

Green Party defence spokesperson Kennedy Graham says any such loss is unacceptable.

“With greatest respect to our Defence Force, I think they're doing a great job, but I think we're slipping up if we can just leave lying around that kind of ordinance,” he says.

The Defence Force is refusing to reveal 24 significant items which have gone missing, saying doing so is likely to "prejudice the security or defence of New Zealand."

3 News understands some of the missing items are significant, not only in cost but in terms of their danger to the public, and have complained to the ombudsman in an attempt to get the details released.

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