Parliament

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

 

Shortcomings in Defence White Paper

Phil Goff

MP for Mt Roskill
Defence Spokesperson

MEDIA STATEMENT


8 June 2016


Shortcomings in Defence White Paper

After an unexplained eight month delay in its publication, the White Paper tells us nothing, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.

“The Government has failed to deliver on the specifics of what it is proposing to replace core assets which come to the end of their lives in nine years.

“After years of running down the Defence Force, the Government now faces major expenditure on replacing the Navy’s frigates and other vessels, and the Airforce’s Hercules, Orions and B757s. The service life of these assets expires before or around 2025.

“It is reasonable to expect the Ministry of Defence and New Zealand Defence Force have advanced their thinking about preferred options to replace these assets. However, it is not sharing its ideas with the public which means that the essential decisions we expected from the White Paper are not there.

“The Government has announced $20 billion in capital expenditure over 15 years, but in the absence of what it will spend this on, we have no idea of whether it represents value for money. Huge capital expenditure in this area is inevitably at the expense of other spending the country needs in areas like transport and housing.

“While the White Paper says there is no foreseeable military threat to New Zealand in the next 25 years, we nevertheless need an effective Defence Force. This is particularly so in new threat areas such as cyber-warfare. With cuts in expenditure and capabilities in recent years, much of what the Government is intending to spend is simply catch up.

“A further serious shortcoming in the White Paper is that it gives too little emphasis to the importance of personnel.

“Both in numbers and in skill capabilities, the New Zealand Defence Force has been seriously degraded. Personnel numbers are down 8 per cent on regular force numbers in 2009.

“The Auditor-General has reported that it will take the Army 11 years and the Navy 16 years to recover the capabilities they had in 2008/09.

“This is a product of the Government’s disastrous policies which led in 2010/11 to attrition rates soaring to 23 per cent a year. The NZDF has still not recovered from this.

“Just last month the Auditor-General warned that ‘limited availability of personnel continues to pose a significant risk’.

“New equipment is of limited use unless there are skilled personnel to make use of it. The Auditor-General warned that in key areas of new capital equipment the problem was ‘worsening’ and that it was ‘critical that Defence takes steps to mitigate this’.

“The White Paper is essentially a series of general statements which add little to what we already know about the Defence Force. In failing to disclose any real decisions about capital asset purchase or strengthening personnel, it adds little of value,” Phil Goff said.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Back Again: Government Approves TPP11 Mandate

The Government has approved a negotiating mandate for Trans-Pacific Partnership 11 (TPP11), which will ensure New Zealand businesses remain competitive in overseas markets.

Trade Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand will be pushing for the minimal number of changes possible to the original TPP agreement, something that the remaining TPP11 countries have agreed on. More>>

ALSO:

.

 
 

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>>

ALSO:

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>>

ALSO:

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>>

ALSO:

Treaty: Agreement In Principle Signed With Moriori

“The Crown acknowledges Moriori was left virtually landless from 1870, hindering its cultural, social and economic development. The Crown also acknowledges its contribution to the myths that the people of Moriori were racially inferior and became extinct." More>>

ALSO:

Susan Devoy: Call For Inquiry Into State Abuse Reaches UN

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is in Geneva and has asked a United Nations committee to urge the New Zealand government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions. More>>

ALSO:

(Not National): Cross-Party Agreement On Pike River Re-Entry

The commitment was signed this afternoon by the leaders of Labour, United Future, The Maori Party, and the Green Party and, together with the earlier commitment by New Zealand First, means that there is now a Parliamentary majority behind the families’ fight for truth and justice. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election