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PM spin misleads public

Max Bradford National Defence Spokesperson

9 May 2001

PM spin misleads public

Prime Minister Helen Clark is spinning misleading banter to the public about the reasons behind her government stripping down our air force and navy, National's Defence spokesman Max Bradford said today

"Helen Clark said the Orions had never spotted any submarines - that was proven wrong. She's tried to tell the public that New Zealand is living in 'an incredibly benign strategic environment' - that's wrong, just look towards Indonesia or the Solomons.

"Now the Prime Minister is trying to spin the line that the army has only trained with the Skyhawks three times in as many decades. The defence review - which she should've seen - says the Skyhawks train with the army 300 hours a year. Again she's got it wrong.

"The other myth that Helen Clark has spun is that the Skyhawks are clapped out and useless.

"They are ageing but as our air combat force they have been useful strategically in East Timor for example. The fleet's presence in Timor had a strategic input, with Australia's airforce, in stopping the Indonesians undertaking any action.

"Now that we have no airforce one of two things will happen. The army will no longer get training in dangerous situations where air support cover is needed or they will have to get support from another country with the capability. That means either bludging support from them or paying for it. How much is this going to cost the taxpayer?

"Helen Clark has slashed our defence force selling the public a line of spin that is based on her misunderstanding of the need for partnerships and how this ensures stability in the Asia-Pacific region," Mr Bradford said.

Ends


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