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Defence - Labour's Vision

12 September 2005

Defence - Labour's Vision

New Zealand's defence force will continue to be configured to meet New Zealand's need for a combat trained force, able to contribute to peacekeeping operations, provide emergency response and assistance and to meet the security requirements of New Zealand and the region.

Labour believes that long-term local, regional and global security can best be achieved through working with our friends and allies, jointly and in partnership.

Labour believes that contributions to the resolution of conflict and maintenance of stability through peace support operations are important international roles for the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF). Labour is proud of the professional work done by the defence force.

LABOUR'S ACHIEVEMENTS

Labour has brought an end to the neglect and ad-hoc spending experienced by our Defence Forces throughout the 1990s. Labour has taken a considered and systematic approach to rebuilding New Zealand’s defence capabilities, beginning with the Defence Policy Framework and the Long Term Development Plan, which gave certainty around the future cost and priority of defence projects.

Budget 2005 demonstrated Labour's continued commitment to New Zealand's Defence Forces with the launch of the Defence Sustainability Initiative (DSI) – an injection of $4.6 billion for Defence over the next ten years.

Labour has committed more than $3 billion to essential new equipment and the upgrading of older assets including: light armoured vehicles (LAV3), light operational vehicles (Pinzgauer), tactical mobile radio communications, anti-armour guided-missile systems, special operations equipment, the Project Protector Fleet (comprising a multi-role vessel, two offshore patrol vessels, four inshore patrol vessels), selection of the NH-90 Medium Utility Helicopter to replace the Iroquois, two Boeing 757 aircraft to replace the old 727s, and the upgrade and life extension of both the C-130 Hercules fleet and the P-3 Orion fleet.

Labour has also increased salaries and allowances for Defence Force personnel five times between 1999 and 2005.

Under Labour, the New Zealand Defence Force has

- Continued to support United Nations missions across the world, including in Iraq, East Timor, Bosnia, Kosovo, Israel, Syria and the Sinai, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, and Cambodia.

- Made extensive contributions to the international campaign against terrorism,including assisting in reconstruction and peace support work in Afghanistan and Maritime interdiction support in the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman.

- Taken part in RAMSI, the Regional Assistance Mission supported by New Zealand, sent to Solomon Islands in July 2003 at the request of the Solomon Islands Government to help restore law and order.

- Assisted communities with disaster relief in New Zealand and across the South Pacific, and has carried out search and rescue tasks and operations in support of government agencies such as conservation and fisheries.

LABOUR'S PRIORITIES

Capability, Capacity, Staffing

Labour will:

- Remain committed to the concept of a defence force consisting of a motorized and readily deployable army; an enhanced navy working with other civilian interests (such as customs, coast guard and fisheries) in the area of maritime surveillance and having appropriate sealift and combat capabilities; and an updated air force with airlift, and air patrol capabilities.

- Continue to rebuild the Defence Force through the Defence Sustainability Initiative, with funding of an extra $4.6 billion over the next ten years.

- Build our force structure to maximise our operational impact, by concentrating defence resources in a range of affordable and sustainable military capabilities that meet our requirements, our strategic interests, and our obligations.

- Extend the concept of jointness in all areas where it is operationally feasible, to improve the ability of the Ministry of Defence, NZDF and the three services to work together and to minimise unnecessary duplication of support functions.

- Continue to monitor, review and update defence strategic planning documents. This includes formalising the LTDP as a rolling ten year forecast, to ensure the acquisition and maintenance of essential modern equipment with due regard to overcoming block obsolescence over time and interoperability with our defence partners where practicable.

- Begin work on a new Defence White Paper for release towards the end of the decade.

- Continue to implement the recommendations of the Review of Accountabilities and Structural Arrangements (RASA) and the Defence Capability and Resourcing Review (DCARR).

- Bring into service the new naval vessels (Project Protector), upgraded aircraft (C-130s and P-3 Orions), light operational vehicles (Pinzgauer) and new helicopters (NH-90s and Sioux replacement).

- Ensure that armed forces pay and conditions are kept under regular review so they reflect properly the value New Zealand places on the armed forces.

- Ensure that necessary levels of training are provided for defence force personnel, including as appropriate, in co-operation with our defence allies and partners, including for peace support deployments

- Continue to offer NZDF resources to assist in upskilling unemployed young people.
INTERNATIONAL AND REGIONAL COMMITMENTS
Labour will

- Work to promote comprehensive security, particularly within the South Pacific region, through diplomacy, trade, aid, economic and environmental co-operation and, military co-operation.

- Meet UN Charter commitments to the maintenance of international peace and security and will contribute to United Nations and other appropriate multilateral peace support and humanitarian relief operations.

- Continue New Zealand's membership of the Five Power Defence Agreement (United Kingdom, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and NZ) and other appropriate permanent or short-term arrangements.

- Except for UN/humanitarian operations, decline to engage in active military co-operation or exercises with those states which use their armed forces to suppress human rights or where that co-operation or those exercises could involve nuclear weaponry.

- Give particular priority to operations in New Zealand and the South Pacific including; disaster relief and resource protection, assisting with Overseas Development Aid delivery such as engineering and health projects, and UN operations.

ENDS

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