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Dunne moots ANZAC SAS in greater links with Oz

Media Statement
Thursday, 14 April 2005

Dunne moots ANZAC SAS in greater links with Australia

United Future leader Peter Dunne tonight called for greater defence co-operation between New Zealand and Australia, including joint air strike forces and special forces operations, such as the SAS.

Addressing the Dunedin branch of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs on United Future’s foreign and defence policies, Mr Dunne said greater defence co-operation made sense and was in keeping with the ANZAC tradition.

“Frankly, there are probably no two nations on the face of the earth with a stronger and more resilient tradition and a sense of a common good,” he said.

He renewed his call for the establishment of an ANZAC battalion.

“We need to look at a combined maritime surveillance capability; a possible joint strike force combining Australian aircraft and New Zealand pilots, and as I said, combined special forces operations.”

Mr Dunne also said New Zealand should be looking to build a leading role in South Pacific issues, while simultaneously further developing economic and political relationships throughout Asia and the Pacific Rim.

“We need to keep developing a network of closer economic relationships in our broader region. This is all about facing the challenges of the modern world, but also clearly identifying and acting on the opportunities that are there for us as a nation.

“We can further develop our South Pacific role as a trusted intermediary, whose diplomatic and trade official are seen as beyond reproach and who are already regularly called upon to assist and help develop our neighbours,” he said.

Mr Dunne also said that United Future supported:

- Retaining New Zealand’s nuclear-free status, while working to improve political and defence relationships with the United States and Australia;

- Urging the United Nations to establish an independent tribunal to examine the issue of unsustainable third world debt;

- Promoting reform of the United Nations through broadening the membership of the Security Council, and the abolition of the veto;

- Supporting the rights of new democracies, such as Taiwan, to participate fully in the work of international organisations

- Establishing overseas aid initially at 0.5% of GNP and moving towards the accepted international goal of 0.7%;

- Greater flexibility in Defence equipment purchase procedures.

Ends.


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