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Air Defence Squadrons Supported

PRESS RELEASE: 1 October 2001
Air Defence Squadrons Supported

A recently released Colmar Brunton Poll shows that 73% of New Zealand voters are against disbanding the country’s air combat force. More than half of New Zealanders regard party policies on air combat capability as either very important or quite important in how they will vote at next year’s general election.

The Save Our Squadrons Campaign, which commissioned the Poll, argues that the Government needs to urgently review its defence policy under a full public consultative framework. Campaign spokesperson, Vern Curtis, says that pending the outcome of that review, the Government should immediately suspend its decision to disband the country’s entire air defence force.

“The first 300 redundancy notices are due to go out to air force personnel on October 8th. It is not too late for the Government to avoid making a colossal mistake. After the events of September 11th there is no shame in the Government changing its mind; in fact it is under a duty to review its position and act accordingly.”

Mr Curtis said the Campaign’s print media ads had resulted in the supporters group mushrooming from 10 ordinary New Zealanders to over 4000 in just 2 weeks.

“In the first few days we were totally overwhelmed with letters and cheques. In the first week we collected in over $22,000, all of which has gone back into advertising. One message which just kept repeating itself was: Thank god someone is finally doing something about this. Tell us what we can do to help.”

“The Government needs to respect the will of the people. The people (and this includes the opposition parties) need to let the Government change its mind on this issue without losing face politically. Our Campaign is not at this stage, about changing the Government. It is about changing the Government’s mind on an issue which may have serious consequences for future generations.”

“We have worked day and night over the past week to put together a website (www.soscampaign.co.nz) which sets out our arguments in a thoroughly researched and objective manner. Hopefully people will take a lead from what we are saying and stand up and be counted on this issue before it is too late. We have just weeks to avoid what in practicality will be an irreversible decision,” said Mr Curtis.

Contact details for further information:

Mrs Nicky Stockman
Secretary
Save Our Squadrons Campaign

soscampaign@xtra.co.nz
Phone/Fax (09) 377-1660

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