Post-Cabinet Press Conference: Expensive Airplanes, 'Free' Speech
At today's post-cabinet press conference the government confirmed plans to purchase four P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and simulators. These will operate from Ohakea air force base, moving from Whenuapai where the current Orion aircraft are based.
The Beehive theatrette is under renovation so Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters was joined by Minister of Defence Ron Mark in the Parliament's (echoey and awkwardly curved) banquet hall.
There were a range of questions on the P8 decision, its relation to NZ's international role, and the recently announced Strategic Defence Policy Statement.
Other topics included the review of the appointment of Wally Haumaha as a Deputy Commissioner of Police, public servant strikes, teacher pay claims, potential 'collateral damage' to New Zealand in brewing trade wars, Phil Twyford being fined by (and regaining ministerial responsibility for) the Civil Aviation Authority, and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff's announcement Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern would not be allowed to speak at council venues. On the last Peters noted that Goff had did not appear to have consulted the council and said that the Government would not have made the same decision because of the importance of free speech. Subsequent questioning revealed Peters was not aware what the pair might be expected to say, and that he found the idea of them being allowed to speak at the beehive inconceivable.
[Video cuts out a little more than five minutes before then end of the press conference – our apologies. Audio is complete.]