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More Unilateral Decisions By Clark

“The unilateral announcement by the Prime Minister that the future defence spending priority is the Army is reckless,” ACT leader Richard Prebble said today.

“What is the point of a defence review costing tens of thousands of dollars if the P.M. has made up her mind? The government wasted taxpayers’ money on the Quigley Report on the F16s which recommended that the purchase was desirable.”

Mr Prebble said the defence review will now recommend what it knows the government wants to hear and be another waste of paper.

“These are serious issues that should be examined. It’s correct that today the Army is taking the lead role with a third of our entire force involved in peacekeeping in East Timor.

“Realistically, this is not sustainable. Instead of basing her assessment on today’s needs, the P.M. should be looking to the future.”

Mr Prebble said ACT wanted to know how the government intended to extricate New Zealand forces from East Timor rather than spending more to stay there.

“The next security issue could be an issue where the Army is of no assistance – for instance it could be over fishing rights in the Pacific,” he said.

“Defence planning decisions are amongst the hardest policy issues to get right. Helen Clark in Gallipoli should reflect on the cost of politicians making defence decisions which they have no expertise to make.” ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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