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Robson In Land Of Noddy

Disarmament Minister Matt Robson is living in the land of Noddy if he believes sweet-talking other nations instead of committing to defence will be enough to keep New Zealand secure, National's Defence spokesman Max Bradford said today.

"In a perfect world we wouldn't have war or armaments but the fact is we do. There is ongoing conflict in the Asia-Pacific region and as a nation we have to be prepared for that. We need to think of history - the old adage about having a soft voice but a big stick is very relevant.

"Matt Robson's comments show there is dissent within Cabinet on defence. He is dragging Labour further to the left than it would like on this issue. What the public can't work out is where Helen Clark stands on the issue.

"Helen Clark is unhappy with American perceptions that New Zealand is cutting spending on defence. What does she expect when that's exactly what she is proposing in dropping our air combat capability and not upgrading maritime surveillance?

"There has been a very significant drop in the real value of spending on defence in the life of this Government because the dollar's devalued so dramatically.

"Helen Clark's also upset at Mr Robson for making political comments about defence spending on ANZAC Day after she said it was a time for remembrance not for making political points. Matt Robson said on TV last night that ANZAC Day is about freedom of speech and freedom of ideas," Mr Bradford said.

Ends


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