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Solomons shows need to beef up defence forces

Solomons shows need to beef up defence forces

New Zealand's deployment to the Solomon Islands exposes how slight our defence forces have become, says National Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Dr Wayne Mapp.

"The deployment will take about one third of our operational helicopter force showing once again the problems of over stretching our defence forces.

"National supports the deployment but the Government is totally out of step with our defence needs. We are clearly not in the benign strategic environment that Helen Clark said we were two years ago, and we are using our defence force much more than was anticipated. "The Solomons deployment will be long-term and this is another reason why we need better resourced defence forces.

"This deployment is broader than a law and order problem. It must deal with the underlying tribal and ethnic problems that have caused the problems in the first place. Not only must the worst criminals be brought to justice, but genuine grievances must be dealt with," Dr Mapp said.

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