INDEPENDENT NEWS

God Defend NZ – The Government Sees No Need

Published: Tue 8 May 2001 04:12 PM
Party Leader Graham Capill said that today’s announcement is “an initiative at the behest of the United Nations, not in the interests of national security.
“If successive governments had not run the defence force down, the Labour-Alliance Government would be unable to justify today’s initiative.
“The on-going debate concerning New Zealand’s defence spending priorities has clearly been clouded by misunderstandings about the central purpose of defence policy. Concerns about our Exclusive Economic Zone and peacekeeping efforts seem to have blinded the Government to a number of defining realities that should be shaping defence policy formation:
- The central concern must be the actual protection of our sovereign territory, people’s way of life and vital trade routes against armed aggression, irrespective of the perceived likelihood of an armed assault on our shores.
- Defence, for a small nation, relies on mutual co-operation with other sovereign nations with similar geo-political interests.
- Technology now rules the battlefield. In particular air power now reigns supreme as a force-multiplier and the most efficient means available to reduce an enemy’s capacity to succeed.
- The battle for New Zealand will be the battle for Australasia.
- Any aggressor must mount its assault on or over the waters surrounding Australia.
- Our ability to defeat an aggressor depends on maintaining, over the long term, the capability to defeat a sea-borne aggressor.
- Geo-political realities can change quickly. The ability to meet such changes depends on maintaining skilled capability in assets calculated to meet a sea-borne threat. There will be no time to “re-tool’.
“Put together these elements point clearly at the need to work closely with Australia to develop and maintain a capacity to find and stop an aggressor on or over the waters surrounding Australasia. Current Government moves to remove our air strike capability will effectively write-off our capacity to defend New Zealand’s sovereignty.
“The Labour-Alliance Government’s underpinning assumptions about New Zealand’s defence needs lack any logical consistency. Firstly, the “New Zealand has no enemies argument’ ignores the fact that no responsible Government can base defence policy on a perceived level of risk. Instead policy must assume worst case scenarios. The average New Zealander takes out house insurance, not because they believe their house will burn down, but because they want to be sure that they have a fall-back position in case it does. Defence policy should be no different.
“Secondly, the “New Zealand can only do what it can afford’ view assumes that New Zealand cannot afford to provide for its own defence. Since we already spend less on defence than other nations of comparable size we should be thinking instead about how we can afford those defence assets which best meet our true defence needs.
“Thirdly, the view that New Zealand should stick to what it does best seems to assume that infantry operations is what we do best. There is no logic to this view in policy terms. Our actual defence needs and not tradition should govern our spending priorities.
“Fourthly, there is an erroneous assumption that the acquisition of expensive high technology weapon systems is an inefficient use of scarce resources. In fact quite the opposite is true. One person in a sophisticated aircraft with “smart’ weapons systems is more capable of surviving and inflicting crippling damage on an enemy than a whole brigade of well-resourced (and expensive) infanteers. The “opportunity cost’ of failing to invest in such systems will be the development of a defence force which is incapable of responding to a real threat. That is the real inefficiency behind the Government’s defence policy.
“Finally, Government policy has been captured by a romanticised view of New Zealand as a contributor to the UN’s peacekeeping efforts. A sovereign nation’s defence policy cannot rest on an agenda set by a foreign world body. New Zealand’s interests should come first. Peacekeeping is a laudable exercise and should fall naturally out of a responsible defence policy.
Christian Heritage believes that the Labour-Alliance Government’s defence policy is seriously flawed. We call upon all responsible Members of Parliament to work to re-establish New Zealand’s defence policy on firmer ground.
“Christian Heritage depends on God to defend New Zealand but God makes use of means and New Zealand must be properly prepared to protect its sovereignty. Should we ever participate in Government, Christian Heritage will dramatically increase spending on defence, so that world standard air-strike capability is part of New Zealand defence,” Mr Capill concluded.
Contact: Party Leader Graham Capill, Direct Line: (03) 352 6720 or (021) 661 766

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