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NZ First Says Time to Put the Force Back In the Air Force

Richard Prosser MP
Associate Spokesperson for Defence

26 March 2014

New Zealand First Says Time to Put the Force Back In the Air Force

New Zealand First is calling on the Government to resurrect the combat wing of the Royal New Zealand Air Force before the General Election.

Associate Defence Spokesperson Richard Prosser says Prime Minister John Key admitted at the World Nuclear Summit in the Netherlands this week that no country is in a benign strategic environment.

“This makes a lie of the excuse former Prime Minister Helen Clark used to disband the strike wing in 2001.

“The former Labour Government mothballed the Skyhawk fleet even as the events of 9/11 were unfolding. It is time to see sense and restore this essential core capability to the New Zealand Defence Force so we can once again play a vital role in the collective security of the region.

“The myth of New Zealand living in a benign strategic environment was the justification used back then. It wasn’t true at the time and it isn’t true today.

“Around the world, and particularly in the Asia-Pacific, nations are equipping themselves with more advanced air combat capabilities, not less.

“Tensions in the South China Sea, the East China Sea, the Taiwan Strait and other flashpoints have the potential to destabilise the entire region and New Zealand has limited ability to respond.

“The Government needs to indicate that it understands the realities of national security and collective security, and replace the Skyhawk and Aermacchi fleets with a small advanced force of jet trainer and combat aircraft,” says Mr Prosser.

ENDS

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