INDEPENDENT NEWS

The Politics Of Defence

Published: Mon 22 Jul 2002 09:26 AM
22 July 2002
The Politics Of Defence
Defence is an election issue. A DigiPoll survey last week of 911 eligible voters found that 40% of voters say that the Air Combat Force issue will be very important or quite important when they vote on 27 July.
The political parties with the strongest Air Combat Force policies are ACT and New Zealand First.
Despite the fact that Labour looks likely to lead the next Government, voters are still able to use their party votes to sway the Air Combat Force issue.
We see these 3 options:
1. Voters who want a Labour Government that will be under pressure to reinstate an Air Combat Force.
Labour voters are split on the Air Combat Force issue. The DigiPoll survey shows 45% of Labour voters agree with Labour's decision to axe the Air Combat Force while 44% disagree. Labour voters may want to consider giving their party vote to a party which wants an Air Combat Force and which is willing to go into coalition with Labour. The best candidate here would be New Zealand First.
2. National voters thinking of voting Labour to keep the Greens out of power.
Labour axed the Air Combat Force against the wishes of the majority of New Zealanders. Why reward it by turning it into a majority Government?
It would be better to give Labour a strong coalition partner which wants an Air Combat Force and which is a viable alternative to the Greens. The best candidate here is again New Zealand First.
3. Voters who want to see National get back to Basics on Defence.
National's defence policy is unacceptably vague, and its record on defence while in office in the 1990's was poor.
The recommended course here is to give your party vote to National's natural coalition partner, ACT, which is a strong supporter of the Air Combat Force and has our No. 1 rating on its defence policy. This would send a strong message to National which is yet to give a satisfactory commitment to an Air Combat Force.
Further information on the DigiPoll survey and the defence policies of the main political parties is available at www.soscampaign.co.nz or contact Dr David Dickens on (04) 475 4117.

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