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Caution needed on downgrading defence

Max Bradford National Defence Spokesperson

1 October 2001

Caution needed on downgrading defence

The change to the world since September 11 shows that we clearly no longer live in a 'incredibly benign strategic environment' as the Prime Minister would have us believe, National's Defence spokesperson Max Bradford said today.

National is calling on the Government to reverse its decision to disband the air force and re submit its whole defence policy to a new review.

"Opinion surveys this year have shown a majority of New Zealanders are opposed to disbanding the air force. The latest Colmar Brunton poll just issued by the Save Our Squadrons Campaign showed 73 percent don't want the air force to be disbanded.

"The New Zealand Herald's survey today shows New Zealander's are clearly rattled by the events of September 11 and that now is a time for caution in defence planning. We should retain our capability until our needs become much clearer.

"Can we run the risk of disbanding a key part of our capability in the most uncertain of times? National agrees with New Zealanders that the answer to that is no. "We don't know what is going to happen over the next two or three years. Helen Clark should abandon her ideology and adopt a precautionary principle about down grading our defence capabilities in times of such uncertainty," Mr Bradford said.

Ends




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