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History lesson in order for National members

History lesson in order for National members

Minister of Defence Mark Burton is today expressing surprise at Wayne Mapp’s claims that the Labour government cancelled a third frigate for the Royal New Zealand Navy.

“Dr Mapp must be suffering from severe amnesia. The 1998 decision to axe the frigate was widely covered in the media, but maybe Dr Mapp was busy doing something else that month.

“Or perhaps he never got around to reading his party’s 1999 Defence Policy, which clearly states that National will not be proceeding with the replacement of our last Leander class frigate with a third ANZAC frigate.”

Mark Burton was also surprised by Dr Mapp’s insistence that the Labour government underpays NZDF personnel.

“The National and National-led governments of the 1990’s only gave the NZDF one budget funded pay rise in nearly a decade.

“In comparison, this government has given the NZDF three budget funded pay rises in as many years.

“Perhaps Dr Mapp would do better to let his Parliamentary colleague Simon Power, National Defence Spokesperson, speak on defence matters. Mr Power, who acknowledged in a recent speech that National and National-led governments did not allow defence spending to keep pace in the 1990s.

“Or perhaps he should rely on former National Defence Spokesperson Richard Worth, who has also spoken eloquently on National’s nine years of neglect, which left New Zealand’s Defence Force perilously low in capability, and short of the funds to correct this.

“Obviously neither Mr Power nor Mr Worth suffers from amnesia at all. Both are very clear about National’s shameful defence policy in the 1990s.”

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