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Green Party Launches Web-Page Peace Project

The Green Party is asking the public for ideas on how to spend the $800 million it plans to save from the defence budget.

Tomorrow (Hiroshima Day) the party will launch its "peace dividend" internet web page, where people can email their opinions on how the defence savings could better be used to make New Zealand and the world a peaceful, just and more enjoyable place to live. Karangahape Road shoppers will have the first chance to go "on-line" with their suggestions at midday on Friday outside Trade Aid/One World Books 177 K Road (opp. Rendells), where defence spokesperson Keith Locke and party Co-Leader Rod Donald will be setting up a computer (with appropriate signage) and be on hand to help.

The Green Party announced in June that it would halve defence spending by removing the "offensive" capabilities of the Defence Force, focussing its efforts on peacekeeping, disaster relief and fisheries protection.

"By removing the frigates, their support ship Endeavour, and the air strike force we could cut $650 million from this year's budget," Mr Locke said. "Another $250 million could be saved by rationalising the rest of the armed forces, away from offensive land operations and anti-submarine warfare. The net saving would be $800 million, given that we have some additional spending, for two new patrol boats for our fisheries zone.

"We are confident of a good response tomorrow, because there is widespread public opposition to the purchase of the ANZAC frigates and the F-16 fighter jets. Most people think the money spent on them would be better devoted to social or environmental purposes, given that the Cold War is over and New Zealand has no foreseeable enemies.

"We chose Hiroshima Day to launch the 'peace dividend' web page because it is the day that most highlights the stupidity of war. The web page will be open until the election, and incoming suggestions will be summarised on the web page."

The "peace dividend" web page can be found at:

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