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Bombing contradicts 'benign environment' claim

Bombing contradicts 'benign environment' claim

The tragic terrorist attack in Jakarta should serve as a sombre reminder to the Government that New Zealand is not operating in a 'benign strategic environment', says National Party Defence spokesman Simon Power.

"All New Zealanders will be grateful that more Kiwis weren't caught up in the attack.

"But if they had been, would the Labour Government be in a position to offer any useful support?

"There are suggestions that our defence forces are already being spread too far and just last week four of New Zealand's five Hercules aircraft had mechanical difficulties," Mr Power says.

"Labour has failed to develop a concise Asia/Pacific security plan and continues to make up foreign policy as it goes along," says Mr Power.

"Compare New Zealand's defence spending with our nearest neighbour and you can see Australia takes security and defence much more seriously.

"In the post Bali environment, Australia is spending $15.8 billion on security and defence over the next five years.

"Labour, which claims we live in a 'benign defence environment', is spending just $1.9 billion.

"The tragedy in Jakarta will serve to remind all New Zealanders that we aren't as far away from the volatility as we like to think we are," Mr Power says.

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