INDEPENDENT NEWS

Government needs a rocket under its defence policy

Published: Thu 18 Oct 2001 09:56 AM
17 October 2001
Government needs a rocket under its defence policy
“Christian Heritage pledges to reinstate a modern Air Force if it participates in government at the end of next year,” Party Leader Graham Capill promised today.
His comments come in response to the Save Our Squadrons marches being held throughout New Zealand today. Christian Heritage has encouraged its members to attend these.
“The Party believes that defence spending ought to be at least 2% GDP, double the current expenditure. That the National Party has not properly maintained the defence force and also considered downgrading the Air Force is no excuse. The current Labour/Alliance government needs a rocket under its defence policy, given it has abandoned the Air Force at a time when world opinion urges the strengthening of defence and security arrangements.
“If the government can find $146 million for the Arts, which are not absolutely necessary to good government or a safe society, it should be able to fund the retention of at least the Macchi Squadron estimated to cost about $30 million a year. Other options might include looking to Australia for a joint defence agreement, which would cost far less than trying to maintain our own defence force.
“Defence is not unnecessary expenditure. It is vital for the security of the nation’s citizens and a primary obligation of any government. With terrorist attacks being threatened around the world and the South Pacific more volatile than ever, New Zealand can ill afford to rest on its laurels. The government’s actions to date have been arrogant and misinformed.
“Christian Heritage believes that all three Services should be modernised and substantially strengthened. The cost would be offset by the security this would afford every citizen, not to mention the return of national pride. The CHP is committed to this programme as a matter of priority if elected next year,” Mr Capill concluded.
END

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