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Burton plays fast and loose with defence

Wayne Mapp

National Defence Spokesperson

19 December 2000

Burton plays fast and loose with defence

The December Economic and Fiscal Update released today is further evidence that the Minister of Defence is continuing to make excuses about the Government's commitment to defence, National's Defence spokesperson Wayne Mapp said today.

"There are big gaps in the defence section of the update. The Minister of Defence hasn't even attempted to predict the impact of the highly publicised pay rise on the defence baseline.

"Mr Burton's excuse of commercial confidentiality simply won't wash. It's not as if service-people are members of an independent union.

"The December Update shows defence expenditure in future years will drop dramatically both in dollar terms and as a percentage of GDP. In fact, by 2004, it will be as low as 0.86% of GDP.

"What is the truth? Will Labour maintain spending? Will they go ahead with the new capital programme to replace the HMNZS Canterbury and the Hercules aircraft, or will they retreat to their fiscal bunker?" Dr Mapp asked.


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