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Christian Heritage Slates Labour's Defence Policy

PRESS RELEASE

7 March 2000

Chris Salt
Defence Spokesperson


CHRISTIAN HERITAGE PARTY SLATES LABOUR’S DEFENCE POLICY


The Christian Heritage Party is extremely concerned about the poor quality of the defence policy debate centred on recent reviews of defence and the proposal to scrap the purchase of the F16 aircraft. The party’s defence policy spokesperson, Chris Salt says the Labour led government seems to be blind to some basic facts concerning defence.

“The Labour Government has forgotten that the essential role of defence is to protect the nation,” Mr Salt said. “Instead Labour is centring defence policy on peacekeeping. Peacekeeping should be an outcome of the central need to provide for the most effective defence of the nation, not drive defence spending priorities.”

Christian Heritage believes that if New Zealand should ever have to defend its shores the battle will inevitably take place on the high seas and centre on the defence of Australasia’s northern and western approaches. New Zealand also depends on vulnerable sea routes for trade. How will we protect them if we concentrate our defence dollar on a land-based peacekeeping force?

Since WW II, aircraft have proved to be the most resource-effective way to wage war and defeat a sea-borne enemy. Labour seems to have forgotten that it was two sea battles, fought principally by aircraft, that shattered any dreams the Japanese had of extending their hegemony over these parts. One pilot in a modern aircraft can inflict more damage to a sea-borne force than a whole army of snorkel-equipped infantrymen.

For a small country like New Zealand, a modern air strike arm is the most resource-effective way to multiply our ability to defend this nation and contribute effectively to Australasia’s regional defence.

“These basic and logical defence considerations are missing from both the public debate and from the largely equivocal reasoning in recent defence reports and papers,” said Mr Salt. “New Zealand needs a modern and effective strike arm. To ignore this fact is to blindly assume that providing for the actual defence of our shores is not feasible or warranted.”

Christian Heritage believes that Labour is failing to face up to the fact that the actual and most effective defence of New Zealand is a government’s primary constitutional concern. “Aircraft equipped with technologically advanced weapons are the most resource and cost efficient way to provide for Australasia’s regional defence needs,” Mr Salt said.


Contact: Mr Chris Salt on (04) 477 0640 or
Party Leader Graham Capill (021) 661 766


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