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New Zealand Out Of The Loop - Yet Again

New Zealand Out Of The Loop - Yet Again

Tuesday 19 Aug 2003 Ken Shirley Press Releases -- Foreign Affairs & Defence

ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader Ken Shirley today accused the Labour Government of denying New Zealand's armed forces the opportunity to maintain skill levels equal to those of our allies, in light of the fact that we will not be participating in upcoming international naval exercises.

"Despite New Zealand having played a useful role as part of the interdiction force in the Arabian Sea, the fact that we are not taking part in upcoming international naval exercises shows that we are clearly missing out on top level training," Mr Shirley said.

"In the next month, the US, Australia and nine other allies will hold naval exercises to train their forces to seize arms and missiles being transported at sea - vital training that, if we were to participate, would almost certainly save New Zealanders' lives.

"Once again, New Zealand is out of the loop - we are already missing out on the exchange of vital information, as indicated at the time of the Bali bombing.

"Senior US official Grant Aldonas has already made it abundantly clear that access to New Zealand's ports would be strategically important in the war on global terror. Unfortunately, Labour's refusal to lift this non-sensical ban means that we are being shut out of important training initiatives and intelligence exchanges.

"Once more, I am calling on Labour to support my Private Members Bill, to delete Clause 11 - the ban on nuclear ships - from our legislation," Mr Shirley said.


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