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Defence Policy More Confused

Monday 19th Jun 2000
Richard Prebble
Media Release -- Foreign Affairs & Defence

The newly released Defence Policy Framework is “confused” and shows an “abysmal lack of knowledge of defence issues by the coalition,” ACT leader Richard Prebble said today.

“This document pledges New Zealand’s continued support to the Five Power Defence Arrangement which involves New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, Singapore and Malaysia. That is a major defence commitment involving Orions, fighter aircraft, frigates – in short, a balanced defence force. There is no role for light infantry on their own.”

Mr Prebble said the only favourable comment he could make was that the coalition had begun to come to terms with the realities of defence.

“This framework had undergone a massive re-write in the last five weeks as the coalition has been learning the reality of defence policies from events in the Solomons and Fiji. The confusion in the document may be a sign that the coalition is now admitting that New Zealand does need an effective defence force and does need it’s allies,” he said.

“It’s interesting but not surprising to note that the document goes out of its way not to mention the USA. It’s not possible to put forward an intellectually serious Defence policy review that fails to mention the most prominent of our allies, the most prominent power in the world,” Mr Prebble said. ENDS

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