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Reality a bitter pill to swallow for PM

Wayne Mapp National Defence Spokesman

20 November 2000

Reality a bitter pill to swallow for PM

"The Prime Minister's dismissive response to US Admiral Dennis Blair shows how badly out of touch this Government is with our international defence responsibilities," National's Defence spokesman Wayne Mapp said today.

"Miss Clark's approach, of focussing solely on Army peacekeeping roles while running down the Navy and Air Force, is out of step with the real world.

"Admiral Blair made honest criticisms of the Government's approach, but as we all know by now, Helen Clark doesn't take constructive criticism on board, she simply rubbishes anyone who dares to criticise her.

"New Zealand has always worked alongside defence partners; that requires co-operation and the ability to take onboard constructive criticism. Helen Clark's isolationist stance will simply render us impotent in our own region.

"Miss Clark should recognise that this is not isolated criticism, and follows closely in the footsteps of Australia's unusual break with diplomatic protocol when it criticised Labour's failure to proceed with the Orion contract.

"The simple fact is that defence spending needs to be practical, to meet real requirements. This Labour Government has rejected practicality in favour of ideology. That is not the way to go if we are to fulfil our role as a good international citizen," Dr Mapp said.

Ends

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