Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Cancel F-16s and sell Skyhawks

12 March 2000

Green Party Defence spokesperson Keith Locke today sent a letter to Prime Minister Helen Clark, giving the Green Party's backing for the cancellation of the F-16 contract. Mr Locke also urged the Government to go further and sell off New Zealand's fleet of Skyhawk strike aircraft. The text of the letter is as follows:

"To help in your Cabinet discussions of the Quigley Report and the future of the F-16 contract, I would briefly like to convey the Green Party's position.

The Green Party strongly supports the cancellation of the F-16 contract. The cost of cancelling the contract is relatively small, according to the figures provided by the Secretary of Defence Graham Fortune to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee, of which I am a member. It could be as little as $12 million. Whatever the exact figures are, the sooner the contract is cancelled, the less New Zealand taxpayers will lose.

The other matter that the Quigley paper was to deal with was the future of our Skyhawk strike aircraft. In our opinion, the key issue for the Cabinet is whether New Zealand needs an air combat force at all. The Greens don't believe we do.

Defence Minister Mark Burton admitted last month, in answering one of my Parliamentary questions, that our Skyhawks have never once been used on an operation in the over 30 years we've had them. Now the Cold War is over it is even less likely they would ever be used.

There is no identifiable danger to New Zealand that would require the use of Skyhawks or replacement F-16s. And they are not needed for peacekeeping. From what I saw in East Timor last month, Iroquois helicopters and Hercules transports are the useful planes for peacekeeping operations.

If Cabinet does decide to cancel the F-16 contract, the Greens would also like you to take a second step, and sell off the 19 Skyhawks. The Skyhawk sale could produce a $50 to $150 million windfall [based on figures provided by former Defence Minister Max Bradford, Dominion 16/12/99].

There would also be a major budgetary saving by getting out of air combat altogether. It currently costs us around $200 million annually. This is money which could better spent on upgrading our peacekeeping capacity, and also on social and environmental projects."

Keith Locke MP: (09) 630-0789 or 025-528-353 Gina Dempster, Press secretary: (04) 470 6723 or 021 1265 289


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Tax Working Group’s Road Map

Trying to analyse the interim report on the Tax Working Group (TWG) is like trying to review an entire All Blacks game, but at the half- time mark.

With so much still to be finalised, Sir Michael Cullen and his colleagues are going to need all the All Blacks’ fabled finishing skills to get a coherent, fiscally neutral package together by the February 2019 deadline. More>>

 

Meth Testing Report: Housing NZ "To Right Wrong"

Phil Twyford “Housing NZ acknowledges that around 800 tenants suffered by either losing their tenancies, losing their possessions, being suspended from the public housing waiting list, negative effects on their credit ratings or, in the worst cases, being made homeless.” More>>

ALSO:

No Reshuffle: Meka Whaitiri Removed As A Minister

Meka Whaitiri will be removed as a Minister with immediate effect... The decision was made after receiving a report into an incident that occurred on 27 August in Gisborne, involving Meka Whaitiri and one of her staff. More>>

ALSO:

Pay Equity Bill: Making History For Women’s Pay

The Equal Pay Amendment Bill, introduced to the House today, will make it easier for workers to make a pay equity claim , using a more simple and accessible process within New Zealand’s existing bargaining framework. More>>

ALSO:

Suffrage 125: NZ A Trailblazer For Women

“We acknowledge the work of Kate Sheppard, Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia, and all of the suffragists who tirelessly campaigned for the vote… Today we also need to ask each other: how we can continue to make our country a fairer and better place to continue the legacy of the suffragists.” More>>

ALSO:

Asylum: Refugee Quota Increasing To 1500

“The quota increase will take place from July 2020. In the meantime, we will work to increase the number and spread of refugee resettlement and support services. We need to make sure we’re prepared for this change in policy.” More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels