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Greens Welcome Reconsideration Of Skyhawks

26 February 2001

Green Party MP Keith Locke today welcomed Prime Minister Helen Clark's comments that New Zealand should reconsider the need for the Skyhawk fleet.

"The Skyhawks are the least useful 'big ticket' items in the Defence Force," said Mr Locke, the party's defence spokesperson.

"In fact they haven't been used operationally once in the 30 years we've had them," he said.

"At the moment New Zealand is spending $200 million a year simply keeping them operational. This is a waste, when there are so many other calls on the budget.

"It is appropriate to start the Skyhawk review now, given that the contract which keeps some Skyhawks in Australia is soon to expire," said Mr Locke. "The Green Party supports the Government's budget focus on a peacekeeping force. As experience has shown, the Hercules and Iroquois are useful for this, but the Skyhawks are irrelevant," said Mr Locke.

Keith Locke MP: 09 377 1367, 025 528 353 Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 021 440 090

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