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National commits to future security

Bill English Leader of the Opposition Max Bradford National Defence Spokesperson

17 October 2001

National commits to future security

National would work to bring back some form of strike force to New Zealand's defence capabilities, Opposition Leader Bill English and National Defence spokesperson Max Bradford said today.

"The Government's chosen its defence path and it has turned out to be the wrong one. We don't live in a benign strategic environment," Mr English told the Save Our Defence Squadrons protest at Parliament.

Mr Bradford addressed the Auckland protest and Kaikoura MP Dr Lynda Scott spoke to the Christchurch protest. Mr Bradford said the Government had ruined our relationships with other countries on defence issues and that point was made at the protests.

Mr English said National was still finalising its defence policy but two things were certain.

"There should be some form of air combat capability incorporated into the New Zealand Defence Force. Our approach on defence would also be to consult closely with Australia, in the spirit of the ANZAC tradition, and in terms of our commitments under the Closer Defence Relationship. "We will not allow our Army personnel to be exposed to danger without air cover, nor will we see New Zealand welsh on it's responsibilities to other countries in the Asia-Pacific region by not pulling our weight," Mr English said.

Ends

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