23 November 2000
Christian Heritage Slams Prime Minister’s Defence Policy
Prime Minister Helen Clark’s unimpressive reaction to American Admiral Blair’s criticism of the Government’s defence
policy is a further disturbing indication that New Zealand’s real defence needs are poorly understood, says the
Christian Heritage Party. Defence spokesperson, Mr Chris Salt says, “Helen Clark completely misunderstands defence
policy. Her fixation with peacekeeping clearly shows that she is thinking in terms of third world aid and has forgotten
that the priority must be the protection of New Zealand. Despite its laudable aims peacekeeping should fall out of that
priority and not replace it,” says Mr Salt.
“The Christian Heritage Party believes a well-equipped army will be of little use in the event of an external threat to
New Zealand. Such a threat would clearly require an effective airborne response against what must inevitably be a sea or
airborne aggressor. Dismissing this argument because there is no apparent external threat to New Zealand is a
dangerously short-sighted view. New Zealanders do not expect to have their homes destroyed and yet most take out
insurance. Defence policy should be based on this same simple premise. Unfortunately, Helen Clark fails to see defence
in these terms and therefore exposes our nation to unnecessary risk,” says Mr Salt.
Christian Heritage believes Admiral Blair is on the right track. A small nation should base its defence on advanced
resource efficient technologies, including precision weapon and surveillance systems. One person in a high performance
aircraft can do more for the defence of New Zealand, against a sea or airborne aggressor, than a whole brigade of
infantry. Secondly, innovative approaches should be adopted to reduce defence overheads. Christian Heritage believes
there is a range of unexplored options which could secure New Zealand’s true defence priorities and regional
responsibilities, without significantly affecting peacekeeping commitments. “Unfortunately, Ms Clark’s obstinate refusal
to conduct a full, public review of defence has severely constrained the government’s ability to formulate a responsible
and cost effective defence policy,” Mr Salt said.
Contact: Mr Chris Salt on (04) 477 0640 or (025) 238 1258
Party Leader Graham Capill (021) 661 766