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Defence Shakeup: Intro – Jane Young Live – Report – Live IV – Ohakea Reaction – Political Reaction – Great Train Robber Returns Home – Live Cross To Biggs Prison

DEFENCE SHAKEUP INTRO: The Government has announced the most significant change to NZ defence forces in decades. The Air Force is the most affected, 700 jobs will be lost. The navy is to get a new long range boat and the army lots of new stuff.

JANE YOUNG LIVE: “We now have the full policy. This polarises National and Labour. It has given National that much needed point of difference.”

JANE YOUNG REPORT: Helen Clark says the cost of the Air Strike combat force is not appropriate. The government has rejected Australian requests to upgrade the Orions as sub hunters. The Charles Upham transporter – presently carrying citrus fruit - is to be sold. All up more than $2 billion will be spent on new equipment over 10 years. Operational funding will also be boosted for the armed forces.

JANE YOUNG IV: Q: What would National do? A: National says it would get on the phone to Australia and ask them what to do, Jenny Shipley says the policy is vindictive. What will happen to the clanky old 727? This is a big embarrassment to the Air Force to be sure, but no decision has been made yet. It will take the plane three days to get to Europe with the PM on an upcoming trip.

OHAKEA REACTION: The mood was glum today at Ohakea Air Force base where 700 staff were told that the days of the Skyhawks are over. A pilot says the thrill of flying the planes is impossible to describe. But the planes are too slow for major air battles and too small for transportation. From now on the Air Force will primarily be in the business of transportation. The Top Guns are expected to head off to Australia, the UK and the Middle East. The Air Force presently has 17 Sky Hawks.

POLITICAL REACTION: National, ACT and NZ First today attacked the Government the Greens and the Alliance in the house over the defence decisions. Quotes from Keith Locke, Matt Robson, Richard Prebble, Ron Marks and Max Bradford.

GREAT TRAIN ROBBER: Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs, 71, is back in custody after returning home from Brazil. 60 police officers were waiting to arrest Mr Biggs at a VIP airport. Biggs appeared in court for just seven minutes. Biggs was then sent back to Prison. His lawyer said he will be appealing his outstanding sentence. Failing health has prompted Biggs to return home for health care he cannot afford.

LIVE CROSS TO BIGGS PRISON: Many say that the train driver injured in the robbery never recovered from his beating. Biggs escaped from prison in the 1960s. Authorities will not press charges for his escape – but they are expected to seek to have Biggs serve the remainder of his 30 year sentence. Biggs legal team will be hoping to get him out before the end of the year. Did the Sun Newspaper pay for Biggs Story? They are not supposed to, but they did pay for his plane trip. We don’t know. The Sun will say it was in the public interest.

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