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Australia exposes NZ on defence and security

Simon Power
National Defence Spokesperson
5th February 2004

Australia exposes NZ on defence and security

The Australian Government's massive $50 billion defence plan announced today shows how badly New Zealand has got it wrong, says National's defence spokesperson Simon Power.

"Helen Clark believes we live in a "benign strategic environment" and scrapped our air combat wing. The Australians obviously don't agree, given the fact much of the package is being spent on upgrades for their airforce."

As part of the package, Australia is spending $4.5 billion replacing their Orion planes, $15.5 billion on new joint strike fighters, and nearly $3 billion on upgrading helicopters and transport planes.

"This is a further sign of the increasing isolation between New Zealand and our traditional allies. Australia is prepared to invest in it's relationship with the US and work together to fight terrorism and other potential threats.

"This is a wake-up call for our Government, and further exposes the gulf between our countries on defence and security issues. Australia takes regional security seriously and is prepared to pay the cost, even if New Zealand doesn't," said Mr Power.

Ends

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