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Weakness In Govt Defence Policy

Solomons Commitment Highlights Weakness In Govt Defence Policy

National's Defence spokesperson Wayne Mapp says the deployment of 14 New Zealanders to the Solomon Islands serves as a wake-up call to the Government on its flawed approach to defence.

The New Zealanders - 6 Police officers, 7 Defence staff and a Foreign Affairs official - will form part of an International Peace Monitoring Team.

"I have no problem with the Government's decision to deploy these personnel, thus meeting our international obligation to share the burden on security issues in the Pacific region.

"However it would be impossible to view this in isolation, without reference to the bigger picture and the Government's one-dimensional approach to defence.

"In June this year internal unrest on the Solomons forced the almost complete closure of Honiara airport. At that time the Labour Government sent two of our frigates, Te Kaha and Te Mana, to the Solomon Islands for guard duty and to help with the evacuation of New Zealanders and others.

"That clearly indicated how important the Navy is as a component of our defence capabilities.

"In this latest instance Army personnel will have the support of the Navy in the event of an emergency. That's why Labour's Army-only policy is so risky for our nation and our servicepeople," Dr Mapp said.


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