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Labour’s defence spend a con job

2 May 2005

Labour’s defence spend a con job

National’s Defence spokesman, John Carter, says Labour’s reported $3 billion spend-up on defence is just a re-hash of what they have previously announced.

“This is not real money, this is just a recycling of the defence spend they announced last year.

“They have obviously been stung into action after Don Brash last week exposed lapses in our defences. They do nothing about defence until someone exposes the shortcomings.

“They were clearly hurt by his comments and by the snub of our service at Gallipoli by Australian Prime Minister John Howard. Australia’s view is that New Zealand is not pulling its weight with regard to regional security.

“You don’t need to look too far to see the gaps Don Brash is talking about:

Our Air Force strike wing is gone, probably irretrievably. The Skyhawks and Aermacchi trainers were mothballed in 2001 and still await a sale. The cost of maintaining and preparing them for sale has reached more than $8.2 million. Equipment failure on the Orions and Hercules has put the lives of service personnel at risk every day for the past five years while Labour has delayed replacements and upgrades.

Labour spent nearly $700 million on 105 LAVs but there aren’t enough people trained to drive them. They spent $93 million on 308 LOVs that are out of action due to equipment failure. There is a serious recruitment problem throughout the services as morale drops and equipment failures rise.

“Our defence spending has dropped well behind the contribution of like-minded allies. Labour does not seem to care about the growing exasperation in Canberra towards New Zealand,” Mr Carter says.

National has previously pledged to increase defence spending by up to 20%.


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