Mrs Shipley - Get Our Soldiers Off The Bread Line
Media Release - Embargoed until Saturday Morning
18 June 1999
Mrs Shipley - Get Our Soldiers Off The Bread Line - NZ First
"The Prime Minister should explain to lower ranked soldiers at Burnham today how her government is going to pay them a decent living wage and get them out of a poverty trap," says New Zealand First Defence spokesperson, Ron Mark.
Mrs Shipley is due to visit Burnham Camp today (Saturday).
Mr Mark says it is an ideal opportunity for her to learn firsthand about the plight of soldiers who are being paid as little as $13,000 as recruits.
"Most New Zealanders will be disgusted to learn that many of the soldiers they rely on to defend New Zealand have to rely on community service cards, the accommodation supplement and emergency benefits.
"These soldiers are living on welfare payments because their pay is so low they can't support their families.
"To make matters worse, they have to pay market rents for houses because the government no longer cares about housing them.
"We have reached Third World status with our troops. The government seems to expect them to live off the land or on charity while they train to defend our country," said Mr Mark.
"Mrs Shipley and her mean-fisted National government are only interested in the Army for the photo opportunities they provide for her on Anzac Days.
"She should explain today to the soldiers why her policies are aimed at training them to go from welfare to warfare," said Mr Mark.