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National Committed To Restoring Air Combat Wing

12 June 2002

National is committed to air combat capability, and working with Australia to achieve that for the New Zealand Defence Force, National Leader Bill English said announcing National's Defence Policy today.

"National will also negotiate a new defence relationship with Australia. New Zealand cannot rely on other countries to defend us. We will work with our allies, and carry our share of the burden.

"National recognises that New Zealand needs a balanced defence force and to be a good friend to Australia, Singapore and the US.

"We will also increase defence spending from the inadequate level of below 1 percent of GDP, half Australia's level of defence spending.

"National will negotiate a new ANZAC Defence Relationship (NADR) with Australia, based on the Australian and New Zealand defence forces working together. We will build an improved relationship between New Zealand and the United States on security, defence, coalition and peacekeeping matters.

"Labour cut the air combat wing without any public consultation. New Zealanders are telling me everywhere I go that they strongly oppose this. National will change the way defence policy is made by seeking public comment on a Defence Review.

"We would seek support for a balanced force. We are committed to air combat capability and working with Australia to achieve that. We would explore the full range of financing options available to restore this capability, assess the technologies available to us and take into account the operational relationships with our allies.

"We will also review the pay and emoluments of defence force personnel," Mr English said.

Ends

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