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Farewell, But Not For Long

Tuesday 11 Dec 2001

The stark reality of a nation without an Air Force will be driven home to New Zealanders today as our Air Combat Wing makes its final pass over the country, ACT Defence Spokesman MP Owen Jennings said today.

"Prime Minister Helen Clark is gambling with our future by declaring that our small, isolated country has no significant threats that require an Air Force.

"New Zealanders are angry and at a loss to understand why the Government is choosing to bludge on others to provide such essential services as air cover for our troops in an operational area.

"The majority of New Zealanders do not accept that financial restraints have led to the disbanding of the Air Combat Wing. The Government's purchase of 105 of the most expensive APVs gives a lie to that claim. The Prime Minister and her ideologically-driven friends are determined to take the country down the road of isolationism and pacifism.

"ACT New Zealand renews its commitment to rebuild an Air Combat Wing and to assume full responsibility for the defence of the country, its people and their property. A full restoration of the ANZUS Agreement will be pivotal to honouring this commitment.

ACT MPs salute the men and women of Number 75 Squadron, Number 2 Squadron and Number 14 Squadron.

"Thank you for your continuing efforts to discharge the honourable responsibility of defending your country. We share your feeling of sorrow and frustration at being so summarily dismissed," Mr Jennings said.


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