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Labour’s Defence Concepts “Tragi-Comic”

1 July, 2002

A National Government will not let New Zealand become a “defence beneficiary” as Labour intends through its plans for the future structure of the country’s defence forces, says Richard Worth, National Party Defence Spokesman.

The MP for Epsom said today that Labour’s concept of defence planning was “tragi-comic” in that it aimed for a nation surrounded by thousands of miles of ocean to run down its navy while building up its land forces.

“Is it any wonder that our friends abroad regard us as unrealistic when it comes to defence planning under the current Government? The Australians already see us as defence beneficiaries, bludging for a future defence capability on their taxpayers.

“We can’t afford to have Canberra view us in that light because it impinges on all other aspects of our trans-Tasman relationship including trade, agricultural product access and social welfare provisions.

“The authors of the Green Paper on defence have done us a service in pointing up the deficiencies in our defence planning. I thank them for it. National must accept some of the criticism in the constructive manner in which it has been offered. Our policy is aimed at setting matters right.”

Ends

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