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Defence Budget - under Staffed, Undervalued But Over There

22 MAY 2015

Defence Budget - under Staffed, Undervalued But Over There


The Defence Budget does nothing to return capabilities lost under Labour and National, says New Zealand First.

“We question if $264 million of new operating funding, over four years, may in fact be sucked up by the Iraq mission,” says, New Zealand First Defence Spokesperson Ron Mark.

“The Defence Budget is just over one per cent of GDP while the interest on Crown debt is now twice that being spent on the army, navy and air force.

“The Defence Minister and the Minister for Veterans Affairs are jokes to trumpet this defence budget.

“They are flogging off defence force housing, selling Hotshots for a pittance and making our veterans report to WINZ to cut costs and conditions. Sadly, that leaves our defence forces under staffed, undervalued but over there.

“The ‘there’ being Iraq where the Iraq Building Capacity Mission is being funded from Vote Defence. In the UK, its mission was shared between Treasury and its equivalent of MFAT; especially if this is not a combat mission as we are so often told.

“Since successive Labour and National governments have cut capabilities, our forces are in no position to defend themselves from ISIS captured BM21 Multiple Launch Rockets and 155mm howitzers, bringing our forces to within a range of 70 to 80 kilometres.

“It is time for these parties to recognise that the world and especially our region is not benign and invest in defence accordingly,” says Mr Mark.

ENDS

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