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Congratulations To Government For Defence Decision

Campaign Against Militarism

News release 8 May 2001


“We congratulate the government for taking the first big steps towards a genuinely New Zealand-oriented defence policy,” Campaign Against Militarism spokesperson Mark Roach said today.

“For too long our military forces have been shaped by overseas pressures, primarily to contribute to the much more militaristic policies of Australia and the United States. Today’s announcements are a welcome move towards an independent defence policy.”

“There is currently a serious risk of new wars in Asia led by George Bush’s new government. The last thing most New Zealanders want is equipping our military to follow Australia into those wars.”

“However we believe Helen Clark should go much further. We should be scrapping the two hugely costly ANZAC frigates as they are almost irrelevant to New Zealand’s needs. Defence spending is still much higher than necessary and only maintained to avoid overseas criticism.”

"We have seen some of that overseas criticism today with John Howard's comments prior to the Government's public release of its decisions on defence. Australia bullied New Zealand into buying frigates ten years ago, now it is trying to bully us into keeping the Skyhawks."

** The Campaign Against Militarism has campaigned for an independent defence policy since 1995, including organising protests against ANZAC frigates, lobbying against the National Government’s plans to approve a third frigate and publicly criticising militaristic ANZAC Day activities.

Contact: Mark Roach ph 025 998952

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