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NZ Should Stop Indonesian Skyhawk Repairs

Published: Wed 22 Sep 1999 02:12 PM
We should not stand by while a Kiwi firm helps refit two Indonesian Air Force Skyhawks, say the Greens.
Safe Air has technicians in Indonesia reassembling two Skyhawk jets that the company earlier refurbished in its Blenheim workshops.
“The government has a moral duty to ask Safe Air to pull its mechanics out of Indonesia,” said Green Party Foreign Affairs spokesperson Keith Locke.
“As a nation we shouldn’t be doing anything to help the Indonesian armed forces, who have conducted a scorched earth campaign in East Timor.
“Our Ministry of Foreign Affairs should never have granted Safe Air a licence to refurbish the jets. The Ministry of Defence was also at fault, in allowing Kiwi air force mechanics to do some of the repair work on the planes.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs may be technically right to say they can’t control what Safe Air does in Indonesia itself.
“However, the government should still advise Safe Air to bring its people home. Any financial shortfall for the company should be covered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, because it allowed the contract to go ahead in the first place.
“Consistent with our September 10 decision to break military ties with Indonesia, we should try to stop further work on the planes.
“We should also cease government funding of four Indonesian officers currently studying for a Masters of Philosphy degree in defence and management studies at Massey University.
“Defence Minister Max Bradford has been soft-pedalling this issue until now, earlier claiming the students were just here studying “philosophy” (yesterday’s New Zealand Herald).
“Now he’s come clean that they are studying military matters, I don’t see how he can justify their continued funding by the Defence Force under the Mutual Assistance Programme,” said Mr Locke.
ENDS

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