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Defence Changes Require Political Consensus

Critical defence changes being planned by the Government require across the board political consensus before implementation because of their long term impact on New Zealand, says United Future leader, Hon Peter Dunne.

Mr Dunne says the Government has no mandate to make such changes from a narrow partisan perspective.

"The consequences of their actions now will far survive their time in Government, however long or short that may be, and will have a profound effect on New Zealand's future international relationships."

"While the individual arguments about the future of the Air Force strike force and maritime surveillance capabilities, and the future vessel requirement for the Navy are important, the big picture to be resolved is that of New Zealand's perception of its role in the region and the world, and how it will meet its responsibilities accordingly."

"This issue should transcend narrow party politics, yet the present Government's approach is far too narrowly based."

"It is more about appeasing its left wing supporters than making sound and sustainable policy."

"We cannot afford to keep changing our defence and foreign policy every time we change our Government, yet that is the path we are now heading down," Mr Dunne says.

Mr Dunne is calling on the Government to convene a multi-party summit on defence policy, to lay out its case and provide all the information available to it and to establish broad consensus about the requirements for the next decade and beyond.

"The present Government's defence plans represent the most radical change in over 50 years - they cannot be allowed to be implemented in a vacuum, yet that is what they seem determined to do," he says.

Ends


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