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Harvested by the National Library of New Zealand on: Oct 16 2009 at 7:52:19 GMT
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Awash With Ideas

I was very interested this week to read an article in the 'Marlborough Express' that reinforced my view that good old Kiwi ingenuity is still alive and kicking.

The article was about Adam Turnbull and Dan Melling - two aeronautic mechanics training at Woodbourne Air Force Base who, in an attempt to battle the lack of local nightlife and inspired by UK TV show 'Top Gear' - have built an amphibious vehicle in which to cross the Cook Strait.

And, so, what started out as a humble 4WD Toyota Town Ace has become - following modifications like fitting polystyrene to aid with buoyancy, and removing the driveshaft from the rear to run the propeller –'Roofliss', an amphibious van that can just top five knots at sea. It also appears that 'Roofliss' is designed to be more of a pleasure craft given that it has also been fitted with a stereo, a beer fridge and a microwave for heating pies.

I'm back down in Blenheim in the next month or two for public consultation meetings connected with Defence Review 2009. While I'm there, I hope to be able to hop on board 'Roofliss' for a look around and to meet the ingenious mechanics who have brought new meaning to the term 'voting with their feet'.

My Defence portfolio responsibilities include Defence industry but I haven't yet decided whether 'Roofliss' represents a potential Inshore Patrol Vessel or maritime air platform. Perhaps Alan Gibbs - creator of the 'Aquada' might be able to clarify this?

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