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Solomons Peace Force

Solomons Peace Force

Monday 30 Jun 2003 Ken Shirley Press Releases -- Foreign Affairs & Defence

ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader Ken Shirley today issued ACT's support for the deployment of New Zealand troops and police to the Solomon Islands, as part of a multi-national Pacific force to restore law and order - but expressed concern over the strain that it will place on both our domestic policing capacity and armed forces.

"The Timor deployment stretched our armed forces to the limit, and was only possible through the involvement and support of the territorial force. There are some serious employment issues associated with the territorial force, and it is regrettable that the Government has left amending legislation addressing these matters languishing down the Parliamentary order paper," Mr Shirley said.

"We do not live in a strategically benign region, as claimed by Prime Minister Helen Clark. There are serious and mounting tensions throughout the southwest Pacific. Papua New Guinea, the Solomons, Vanuatu, Fiji and many other Pacific nations are experiencing slow and painful transitions from traditional tribal societies to open democratic trading nationhood within the global economy.

"It is vital that New Zealand assists those transitions, as political and economic instability in our neighbourhood will eventually impact directly on our wellbeing.

"I am calling on the Labour Government to focus greater attention on both our domestic and regional security needs. This is the prime responsibility of any government," Mr Shirley said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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