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SOS Campaign May Appeal Court Decision

PRESS RELEASE: 21 NOVEMBER 2001

SOS Campaign May Appeal Court Decision

The High Court in Wellington has struck out proceedings filed by the Save Our Squadrons Campaign to stop the Government disbanding the Air Combat Force.

Campaign convener, Auckland lawyer, Clive Bradbury said today they were still studying Justice Heron’s decision with a view to filing an appeal.

“We are concerned at the narrowness of the decision. It seems to focus on the scope of the Minister’s power of control over the New Zealand Defence Force and whether or not the Air Force remains an armed force, to the exclusion of the most important argument. That argument being that whatever may be the scope of the Minister’s power of control, that power must surely be exercised for the purposes laid down in section 5 of the Defence Act. Disbandment of the Air Combat Force, when seen in the context of the rest of the May 8th Defence Statement, will neither further “the defence of New Zealand” nor protect “the interests of New Zealand”, the primary imperatives under the Act.”

“Air Marshall Sir Ewan Jamieson made just this point when he said to the Court “The Government’s current defence policy removes most of the capability of the New Zealand Defence Force to defend New Zealand and protect its interests.”

“As we announced last week [in the attached press release dated 14 November] the Campaign has moved into a new phase leading up to next year’s general election. We are determined to ensure that defence is an election issue and that voters are not allowed to forget exactly what this Government has done to the Defence Force’s capabilities to defend our country and support our closest friends.”

For further details please contact Vern Curtis (021) 472-316, or Dr David Dickens (04) 463-5434 or (021) 348-022 or Clive Bradbury (021) 925 611.

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