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Wayne Mapp: National Defence Policy Seminar

Dr Wayne Mapp,
National Defence Spokesman

24 - 25 November 2000

Opposition leader Jenny Shipley will give a frank appraisal of New Zealand's role in regional defence at a policy seminar in Auckland this week.

New Zealand's defence relations will be in the spotlight at National's defence policy seminar "NZ Defence Directions: post 2002'.

Mrs Shipley has recently returned from an overseas visit, during which she met with officials in the United States.

National's Defence spokesman Wayne Mapp says New Zealand's defence obligations are more demanding than at any time since Vietnam - as evidenced by recent operations in East Timor, the Solomons, and Bougainville

"Our forces are stretched to a degree that hasn't been seen in many years. Our region is undergoing profound change and we need to be prepared," Dr Mapp says.

"It is increasingly crucial that New Zealand evaluates the capabilities required to respond to these obligations. The Australian Government is grappling with the same problems, and is undertaking an extensive review. Australian senator Sandy Macdonald will discuss that review and the possibility of increased integration at the seminar. New Zealand's Labour Government has refused to take the opportunity to conduct a parallel review.

"National has always taken the view that New Zealand must work with our closest ally, Australia, to secure peace and stability in our region. Yet many of the key issues for our armed forces remain unanswered, including the depth of our relationship with Australia.

"Starting with this seminar, National is determined to try to answer them," Dr Mapp said.


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