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NZ will pay for Govt's stupid defence policy

Max Bradford National Defence Spokesperson

8 October 2001

NZ will pay for Govt's stupid defence policy New Zealand will pay for Helen Clark's ideological fixation to ditch the country's air combat force and put soldiers lives at risk in future, National's Defence spokesperson Max Bradford said today.

"There is huge irony in the timing of the Clark Government disbanding the air force just when the biggest grouping of nations in history has joined together to fight a war on terrorism

"On the very day 350 people in the RNZAF lose their jobs and 400 others await their employment fate, up goes the 'For sale' sign on the Sky Hawks and Aermacchis and the war on terrorism commences using air power and no ground troops.

"If the New Zealand Government looked beyond its own ideology it would see that the use of air power rather than large land-based forces has become a feature of modern warfare.

"By leaving the New Zealand defence forces with no air support, the Clark Government is ignoring the lessons of history. Crete was the last action when New Zealand ground troops were decimated because they did not have air cover to protect them against German aircraft.

"The National opposition is horrified not only by the stupidity of this Government's defence policy, now further proven by the event of today's war, but by the loss of skilled and dedicated New Zealanders cast on the scrap heap to find their destiny with the defence forces of other nations.

"Helen Clark, the Alliance and the Greens will come to regret their decision to disband the air force. It is another triumph of left wing ideology over reality, which will unfortunately almost certainly be paid for with peoples' lives in future," Mr Bradford said.

Ends

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