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F16 decision will have long term impact

The Labour/Alliance Government's decision to cancel the F16 contract will do long term damage, both to the Defence Force and to New Zealand's international reputation, says Opposition Defence Spokesperson Wayne Mapp.

"This decision is the first step in Labour's agenda to downgrade our Defence Force to a point that they will not be useful in the ANZAC partnership. Labour will effectively write New Zealand out of Asia/Pacific defence arrangements.

"The decision places even more importance on the upcoming Defence Review, which comes at the same time as the Australian Defence Review. The Australian review will be an open review with public input and we need the same approach. This will be our best opportunity to ensure an ANZAC perspective to Australia and New Zealand defence arrangements.

"Defence of the realm is one of the most important issues for any government. It is not a plaything for radical agendas of the extreme left. We have key responsibilities in protecting our region with our closest friends and allies. The review will be a large part of this process," Dr Mapp said.

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