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


Ron Mark in the dark

2 March 2018

Ron Mark in the dark

Defence Minister Ron Mark seems to be blissfully unaware of what’s going on in his own portfolio, National Defence spokesperson Mark Mitchell says.

“Earlier this month, the Chief of Defence Lieutenant General Tim Keating warned his senior officers to prepare for spending cuts, asking them to ‘reprioritise’ resources in the coming years. He highlighted a need to focus on ‘reducing growth in personnel costs,’ and ‘moderating demand for new strategic initiatives,” Mr Mitchell says.

“However, when both matters were put very clearly to Mr Mark in Parliamentary questions this week he denied that either was occurring.

“While it’s encouraging that Mr Mark says there is broad Government support for the $20 billion Defence Capability Plan launched in 2016, it appears he’s in danger of losing the arm wrestle with Finance Minister Grant Robertson.

“The plan, and the accompanying 2016 Defence White paper, were consulted on heavily with Australia, to ensure a focus on appropriate future requirements and interoperability with our closest ally.

“What will be of concern come Budget 2018 – in light of Lieutenant General Keating’s communications with his senior officers – is any indication that because of the Government’s tight spending restrictions any much-needed Defence spending is put off to a later date.

“The Defence Force simply can’t cope with delays to the upgrades to our Orion search and surveillance aircraft, the now over 50 year-old C130 Hercules air frames, and a rapidly changing technology environment, to name just a few cost pressures.

“Any major change to the 2016 Defence Capability Plan will have a hugely detrimental effect on the Defence Force’s ability to respond as it needs to, not to mention morale, which the National Government got to an all-time high.

“The Defence Capability Plan 2016 provides a solid blueprint of what work the Defence Force needs to undertake over the next decade.

“It includes the sort of asset upgrades the Defence Force needs to prioritise to make it not only fit for purpose, but also interoperable with its major defence partners.

“This is something Australia will more than likely seek some confidence on at the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum today,” Mr Mitchell says.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Thompson+ Clark, And Russia’s FIFA World Cup

Daily, the coalition government keeps running into examples of the toxic legacy left behind by National – and just as regularly, even the simple fixes are proving stubbornly difficult to enact. Take the case of the security firm Thompson + Clark, which has been employed – time and again - by state agencies over the past decade, to spy on (and provide security against) ordinary New Zealanders engaged in lawful forms of protest. More>>


HiveMind: Fair Enough? How Should New Zealanders Be Taxed?

Have Your Say! Scoop and PEP invite you to share your issues, ideas and perspectives on the NZ tax system with other New Zealanders using Scoop’s HiveMind tool. This Tax HiveMind is intended to complement and feed into the review being run by the Government-appointed Tax Working Group (TWG), which is looking at the fairness, balance and structure of the tax system with a 10-year time horizon. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The GCSB’s Security Hang-Up With Russia

So our GCSB has chimed in, alongside its British, Australian and US allies, with warnings about a “fresh wave” of Russian cyber attacks, although the warning has been curiously framed. More>>


PM's Europe Trip: CHOGM & Bilateral Meetings

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is in urope for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London and meetings with counterparts in Paris and Berlin. More>>


Hit And Run: AG Gives Approval For Inquiry

Attorney-General David Parker has today announced a Government Inquiry will be held into Operation Burnham and related events. The operation undertaken in Tirgiran Valley, Afghanistan, ... More>>


Addressing Climate Change: No New Offshore Exploration Permits

The Coalition Government is taking an important step to address climate change and create a clean, green and sustainable future for New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. More>>


Road Safety Summit: Actions To Improve Identified

The Local Government Road Safety Summit held last week identified actions that will lead to lasting changes to road safety in New Zealand, says Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter. More>>





Featured InfoPages