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NZ defence links with Australia in trouble

Max Bradford National Defence Spokesperson

5 November 2001

NZ defence links with Australia in trouble

The Australian Labour Party's decision to list New Zealand at the bottom of its regional defence priorities confirms again that New Zealand's defence policy has widened the Tasman between the two countries, National's Defence spokesperson Max Bradford said today.

An Australian sourced press report today says the Australian Labor Party has dropped its advocacy of an ANZAC battalion and states that Australian forces "will do what they can with the truncated kiwi military".

"New Zealand is not pulling its weight in defence. That the Australian Labor Party has given up on its New Zealand left-wing counterpart, simply confirms that Australia views New Zealand's defence policy as tokenism.

"The Clark Government's defence policy has created severe problems for the Australian Defence Force. Its decision to drop an air combat capability has severely compromised Australia's ability to provide maritime air support and training to its Navy.

"Helen Clark's attempts to curry favour with Australia by selling New Zealanders short on the social security arrangements, and taking 150 Tampa refugees will not amount to a row of beans in off-setting the very real harm done by her ideologically based defence policies," Mr Bradford said.

Ends

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