COMMENT:

Defence Minister Ron Mark nailed his colours to the joystick nearly three years ago when it came to replacing our ageing Hercules.

Then New Zealand First defence spokesman and some distance away from the Treasury benches, was unequivocal about what was needed.

''We're highly disposed to the 130J. You'd have to have a damn good reason to cut away and introduce something new,'' he told the Business Herald in October 2016

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The former Army captain has been a strident critic of much of the country's recent procurement of defence hardware.

During the past three decades, there have been frigate