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ANZAC Day a reminder of future defence needs

Max Bradford National Defence Spokesperson

25 April 2001

ANZAC Day a reminder of future defence needs

ANZAC Day is not only a time to reflect on the courage of our 8,556 fellow New Zealanders who lost their lives fighting for their country, but a time to look forward to what the future holds for New Zealand, National's Defence spokesman Max Bradford said today.

"Yesterday's opening of the New Zealand war memorial at Canberra was a deeply moving experience, similar to the annual dawn ceremonies around New Zealand. ANZAC Day binds New Zealanders more into one people than any other event. "As New Zealand is part of the increasingly volatile Asia-Pacific region, we need to prepare a viable defence policy for the future, especially as New Zealanders have signalled in recent polls that they don't want our defence capabilities reduced.

"Today regional alliances are vital when differences occur between nations. ANZAC Day is a solemn reminder that for New Zealand to be secure in times of unrest in the Asia-Pacific region it has to do its part.

"National shares New Zealanders concerns at the Government's isolationism and at the shelving next month of our air combat capability and of the Orions maritime surveillance upgrade.

"Five earlier polls, between 1995-99, were overwhelmingly against any isolationist view which distanced us from our neighbours. This is the first government since the WWII which has based its defence policy on isolationism.

"The recent incident between China and the United States illustrates just how quickly nations can start eye-balling each other and how far off the mark Helen Clark is when she says we are in a 'benign strategic environment'. New Zealand needs to prepare for an uncertain future by being a good neighbour to Australia and by pulling its weight.

Mr Bradford yesterday attended the opening of 'ANZAC - The New Zealand Story' at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Early today he attended the Auckland dawn ceremony and then the ANZAC Civil Service in Rotorua this morning.


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