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PM misleads in attempt to justify Skyhawk decision

Jenny Shipley Leader of the Opposition

9 May 2001

PM misleads New Zealand in attempt to justify Skyhawk decision

The Prime Minister has misled New Zealanders in an attempt to justify why she is scrapping New Zealand's air-strike capability, Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley said today.

"Helen Clark is completely wrong in her claim that Skyhawks have only trained with the New Zealand Army 'three times in the last 30 years'. That is completely wrong and grossly misleading.

"A Ministry of Defence paper released yesterday as part of the Government's package shows that the Skyhawk squadron spends 300 hours each year involved in precisely that sort of training with New Zealand Army personnel. In addition the squadron spends 560 hours each year training with the New Zealand Navy. That training plays a vital role in ensuring New Zealand's forces are combat ready.

"The Prime Minister's claim is wildly inaccurate, and it cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged. It is distressing that the Prime Minister can make a decision with drastic effects on our future security on the basis of that sort of misinformation.

"It demonstrates how poorly thought through this defence package is, and the lengths the Prime Minister is prepared to go to to justify her position," Jenny Shipley said.

Ends

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