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Opposition claims bogus

8 October 2001 Media Statement

Opposition claims bogus


The Minister of Defence Mark Burton has described the Opposition reaction to today's airforce announcements as "bogus".

"Opposition members are shamelessly exploiting the understandable fears and concerns people have about the current international situation.

"Jenny Shipley's remarks about redundancies are all the more cynical when you consider that National not only cut defence funding during the 1990s, but also slashed the number of defence personnel.

"In 1990, under the last Labour government, there were 4155 uniformed Air Force personnel. By 1999, National had cut this number to 2885.

"In all, the New Zealand Defence Force shrunk by more than 3400 personnel under National.

"The fact is the current action in Afghanistan involves stealth bombers, tomahawk missiles and other high-tech capabilities. It is absolute fiction for Mrs Shipley and Mr Bradford to pretend that a New Zealand air combat force would have any part to play in such an action.

"We have offered our crack SAS troops to the international effort against terrorism. That is an appropriate military contribution should it be required," Mark Burton said.

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1999:::1 Jul:::2038:::4378:::2885:::1910:::11211

ENDS

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