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Anderton Threatens Future Of NZ Defence Force

New Zealand's defence personnel can feel no sense of security or confidence about their futures in light of comments made today by Deputy Prime Minister and Alliance leader Jim Anderton, National's Defence spokesman Max Bradford said today.

"In a blatant bid to appease Alliance voters over his party's compliant lap-dog approach of rubber-stamping Labour decisions, Mr Anderton said: '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.'

"The implications of Mr Anderton's statement are a cause for deep concern. Just two days after Labour announced its 'Ten Year Plan' it is clear that the plan has a lifespan of just 18 months.

"Jim Anderton's threat of reduced funding means New Zealand's defence capabilities will face further cutbacks unless there is a change of Government next year.

"That's dreadful news for our defence personnel and for our international standing. The Alliance is clearly intent on destroying the remaining shreds of our international credibility in the area of defence. Helen Clark has gutted our armed forces, Jim Anderton clearly intends to finish the job off.

"This ideologically-driven Labour-Alliance mob must be voted out of office in 2002. If the current Government is not disposed of within 18 months then our defence force will be even further hollowed out, to a shell of its former self. The cost of that will come in jobs, international credibility and quite possibly in the lives of New Zealand servicemen and women," Max Bradford said.


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