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ACT Wants Return to ANZUS

ACT Wants Return to ANZUS

Tuesday 8th May 2001 Richard Prebble Media Release -- Foreign Affairs & Defence

The Labour/Alliance government is turning New Zealand’s army into a peace-keeping force, the navy into a coastguard and the air force into a “military version of Freedom Air”, ACT leader Richard Prebble says.

Condemning the government’s “isolationist” defence strategy, Mr Prebble said it represented a radical change in foreign policy.

“We’ve removed our ability to work alongside our allies in combat situations,” he said.

Collective security had traditionally been the cornerstone of New Zealand’s defence policy and ACT wanted to immediately restore the ANZUS alliance with Australia and the United States.

“The benefits would be significant. A sharing of intelligence would enable us to know why Australia has a very different world view. We would have access to a modern surveillance system. We would have the ability to purchase at favourable prices and to receive training in modern defence equipment,” he said.

“If we were in ANZUS we could buy F16 fighter aircraft and Perry class frigates from the United States at rock bottom prices.”

To get a credible defence force on a go-it-alone basis, Labour would need to spend at least 3 percent of GDP - about double the current defence budget – whereas under ANZUS a truly viable defence force could be put together for about the current spending, Mr Prebble said.

“The government should poll New Zealanders to see whether they favour Labour’s non-aligned neutrality as opposed to the traditional ANZAC and ANZUS arrangements,” he said.

“Defence is the first duty of any government. We’re going to pay with the blood of New Zealanders.”

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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