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Defence Spending

Increased spending on defence over the next ten years is so high that it will need to be reviewed by a future government, Alliance leader and Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton said today.

He says that the billion dollars extra the Coalition Government has announced for defence capital spending over the next ten years costs the equivalent of twenty-five kiwi banks – without the likely commercial return on the investment.

"The promise by Mrs Shipley that a National Government would bring back a combat air strike force is a promise that will certainly be broken. National in Government will never be able to find the billion dollars required.

"In the last two weeks, National has promised to spend hundreds of millions of dollars cutting the top company tax rate, and another billion dollars on school computers. The announcement of a further billion dollars on defence defies belief.

"Continually increasing defence spending is an immense challenge for a small country like New Zealand.

"While the Alliance supported yesterday's announcement of increased spending where it is needed in defence, that is not a commitment to continue to support increased defence expenditure in years further out after the next election.

"New Zealand does have other priorities. Our real enemies are domestic enemies like poverty, illiteracy and sickness.

"A future government will have to balance those needs against demands for ever increasing defence spending," Jim Anderton said.

Ends

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