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Christian Heritage Party Supports RSA On Defence

Christian Heritage Party Supports RSA’s Position On Defence

The recent departure of key Airforce Strike Arm trainers and leaders, although instructors were offered $25,000 bonuses to stay, is a disturbing development that highlights the dangers inherent in the Labour Government’s current stance on defence, says Christian Heritage Party defence spokesperson, Chris Salt.

Christian Heritage supports the RSA’s call for a full public review of defence. Mr Salt says that the Labour Government has forgotten that the essential role of defence is to protect the nation. Instead, Labour is centring defence policy on peacekeeping. While a laudable activity it should not drive defence spending priorities.

At present New Zealand is stretched to meet its obligations, with the crises in East Timor, Fiji and now the Solomon Islands. Those developments underscore that there is more at stake than peace keeping: internal security is vital to the national well-being.

Christian Heritage believes that the Labour Government, by refusing to conduct the public review it promised, is exercising arbitrary power for which it has no mandate. “Because national defence is a core government function ordinary New Zealanders should be given the opportunity to contribute to the formulation of our defence policy,” Mr Salt said.

Christian Heritage maintains that there are many defence policy initiatives, which have not been considered by the Labour Government. A full public debate on defence issues would help the government make the most rational and cost effective defence policy decisions. The fact that Labour has obstinately refused to open up the debate is a sure sign that it does not want to listen to other points of view. “A government with this mindset is setting a dangerous example in a South Pacific region racked by strife and the flagrant abuse of democracy”, said Mr Salt.

ends

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