Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Goff - National's Defence policy a non-event

Goff - National's Defence policy a non-event

National's policy on Defence released today is a total non-event, Defence Minister Phil Goff said today.

As in 2005, when it was released late on a Friday, the "launch" seems designed to attract minimum attention.

"To be fair to National, its low profile release is appropriate given its appalling track record in the 1990s, which saw a 24 per cent cut in Defence Force numbers, a 30 per cent slashing of spending on Defence, and the increasing obsolescence of Defence Force equipment," Phil Goff said.

"In addition, having flip-flopped on its main points of difference in this area with Labour, such as its support for sending New Zealand troops to Iraq and for reinstating an air combat wing, it now seems just to endorse Labour's policies.

"The area that it highlights in its release, calling for a White Paper on Defence, is not a policy at all - it's simply a process.

"A White Paper requires a Government to have a clear sense of broad policy direction and principles, and a willingness to resource any changes proposed.

"Nowhere in National's policy release are these things evident. Therefore saying your main policy is to have a White Paper is really just a thinly disguised admission of having no policy at all.

"As Defence Minister, I have already indicated that a Labour Government will conduct a policy review, as foreshadowed in our 2005 Manifesto.

"This will coincide with planning for a replacement of the Long Term Development Plan, which runs out in 2012, and a mid-point review of the Defence Sustainability Initiative - both of which were introduced by this government to provide certainty of planning for our Defence Force.

"Under these two initiatives, Labour has invested more than $8 billion in capital and operating expenditure in Defence.

"All three services, Navy, Army and Air Force, have enjoyed a major investment in new equipment and since 2005, a significant boost to personnel numbers of nearly 1100.

"Without sacrificing our commitment to an independent foreign policy, we have strengthened our defence relationships with close friends like Australia.

"And we have sustained the largest commitment in decades to peacekeeping deployments in countries including Afghanistan, Timor Leste and the Solomons.

"The Defence Force, as acknowledged at the RSA National Conference today, is in the best shape it has been in for decades.

"The policy review, scheduled for next year, will build on our current Defence policy settings, taking account of the contemporary strategic environment to ensure that our future decisions on Defence continue to be appropriate and matched to our needs," Phil Goff said.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Life And Times Of Peter Dunne

In the end, Mr Pragmatic calmly read the signs of impending defeat and went out on his own terms. You could use any number of clichés to describe Peter Dunne’s exit from Parliament.

The unkind might talk of sinking ships, others could be more reminded of a loaded revolver left on the desk by his Cabinet colleagues as they closed the door behind them, now that the polls in Ohariu had confirmed he was no longer of much use to National. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Campaign Launch

One of the key motifs of Ardern’s speech was her repeated use of the phrase – “Now, what?” Cleverly, that looks like being Labour’s response to National’s ‘steady as it goes’ warning against not putting the economic ‘gains’ at risk. More>>


Lyndon Hood: Social Welfare, Explained

Speaking as someone who has seen better times and nowadays mostly operates by being really annoying and humiliating to deal with, I have some fellow feeling with the current system, so I’ll take this chance to set a few things straight.. More>>


Deregistered: Independent Board Decision On Family First

The Board considers that Family First has a purpose to promote its own particular views about marriage and the traditional family that cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable... More>>


Transport Policies: Nats' New $10.5bn Roads Of National Significance

National is committing to the next generation of Roads of National Significance, National Party Transport Spokesperson Simon Bridges says. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>


Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>


Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election