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Defence Needs Your Party Vote

To All Supporters of the Save Our Squadrons Campaign

Election Campaign 2002

Defence Needs Your Party Vote

Our objective over the next 6 weeks is to ensure that when New Zealander's go into the polling booths on July 27th they are fully briefed on the defence policies of the major political parties and their likely coalition partners. Attached to this email is the first of our advertisements which will appear in this weekend's Sunday Star Times. Apart from an advertising campaign we are planning a series of meetings in the main centres which will be addressed by the Campaign's chief spokesman, Dr. David Dickens (the former Director of the Centre for Strategic Studies at Victoria University) and one or more overseas defence commentators.

We intend to examine in detail the defence policy of each political party and provide our critique to Campaign supporters and to the media.

An indication of Labour's policy can be seen in the Ministry of Defence's Long-Term Development Plan released on 27th May 2002 (see www.defence.govt.nz) which gives a long list of defence projects but provides little in the way of commitment.

National released its defence policy this morning (see below). Our preliminary assessment is that it lacks the commitment we are seeking to significantly increase defence funding in the short and medium terms. We want to see a commitment to take steps immediately to re-establish an air combat force. The acquisition of 12 to 14 new F 16 C/D types will involve additional operating costs of $75 million per year and a capital cost of $750 million over 10 years. We want to see the annual defence budget increased to at least 1.5% of GDP (excluding capital charges) over the next 5 years. All this can be funded from Government surpluses and growth.

Our focus will be on defence issues and not personalities. While many of our supporters feel betrayed by the decisions of the Clark Government to scrap the Air Combat Force, it should be remembered that the Bolger Government decided against the third ANZAC frigate and generally neglected our armed forces.

Clive Bradbury

Convener

Save Our Squadrons Campaign

Executive Summary The first responsibility of a Government is to defend its citizens. New Zealand can be secure and respected only when it has a well-equipped defence force able to defend our borders and play a proper part in collective security with our close neighbours.

The UN cannot defend New Zealand; only New Zealanders can, in conjunction with our friends such as Australia, Singapore, and the US. We no longer live in a benign strategic environment. Insecurity and uncertainty colour the times we live in.

The Labour-Alliance Government has significantly reduced New Zealand's defence capability. It has reduced our ability to contribute a fair share for a country of our size, wealth and history in the support of friends and allies, particularly Australia, to peace and security in our region. The Government has scrapped the country's air combat capability and limited our ability to operate with our closest ally Australia. Naval capability is being downgraded. New Zealand is now more dependent on others for its defence and less able to contribute towards our shared responsibilities, than ever before.

National intends to restore New Zealand's defence forces to a position where, in the eyes of our citizens, and of our friends and allies, they are relevant and properly equipped. The Labour-Alliance government's defence policy puts New Zealand's defence in the hands of others. It has fashioned the NZDF into a peacekeeping force, with limited ability to defend us. New Zealanders deserve to participate in deciding what our defence policy should be. National will do that.

A Balanced Force

National will:

· establish a Defence Force with balanced combat and peacekeeping capability to meet threats to our interests and responsibilities, primarily but not exclusively, in the Asia-Pacific Region

· not depend on other countries for our core combat defence capability. National will restore an appropriate form of air combat capability into the NZDF

· ensure the decisions on our defence will be in New Zealand's hands, not in the hands of others

Committing to New International Relationships

National will:

· negotiate a New ANZAC Defence Relationship (NADR) with Australia based on full interoperability between the ADF and the NZDF; and embody the NADR in a Treaty

· build on the improved relationship between New Zealand and the United States on security, defence, coalition and peacekeeping matters, ideally with the active support and involvement of Australia.

· restore New Zealand's close working relationship with its FPDA Partners (Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and the UK)

· ensure New Zealand is able to play its part as a responsible international citizen within the UN and appropriate coalition arrangements, as well as within the regional security arrangements essential for our vital defence and economic interests

Commitment to Public Involvement

National will:

· adopt a new approach to making defence policy by preparing a Defence Review for use as a public discussion paper. The paper will incorporate National's policy principles in this document. National will then conduct a comprehensive consultation process throughout New Zealand within a few months of assuming office

· establish a Centre for Strategic Military and Foreign Studies

Commitment Backed by Funding National will:

· increase New Zealand's defence spending from the present inadequate level of barely 1 percent of GDP

Looking After Our Defence People National will:

· review the pay and emoluments of defence force personnel, and ensure they receive the recognition they deserve in the service of all New Zealanders

Introduction

The first responsibility of a Government is to defend its citizens. New Zealand can be secure and respected only when it has a well-equipped defence force able to defend our borders and play a proper part in collective security with our close neighbours.

The UN cannot defend New Zealand; only New Zealanders can, in conjunction with our friends such as Australia, Singapore, and the US. We no longer live in a benign strategic environment. Insecurity and uncertainty colour the times we live in.

National intends to restore New Zealand's defence forces to a position where, in the eyes of our citizens, and of our friends and allies, they are relevant and properly equipped. The Labour-Alliance government's defence policy puts New Zealand's defence in the hands of others. It has fashioned the NZDF into a peacekeeping force, with limited ability to defend us. New Zealanders deserve to participate in deciding what our defence policy should be. National will do that.

Part 1 A Balanced Force

National is committed to restoring an appropriate air combat capability, recognizing technology is changing rapidly. The Labour-Alliance Government decision to scrap the air combat force means New Zealand will have to totally depend on other nations for air cover for our land forces. That is unacceptable to National, as the lessons of history clearly show[1]. This will need to involve close integration with Australia in some way.

The current combat capability of the RNZN with only 2 ANZAC frigates is not viable in the long run. The two frigates are being used extensively, and are wearing out at a more rapid rate than was expected when the ANZAC ship decision to retain a four-frigate navy was made by a Labour government in the 1980s. Significant problems will present themselves when the two ships require a major scheduled refit. If New Zealand is to have a viable blue water, combat capable navy, which National favours, then a third frigate must be acquired. This option will form part of the Defence Review. National supports the acquisition of the proposed multi-role ship.

In view of the terrorist attacks on September 11 2001 and the role of ground based forces, as well as the unsatisfactory procurement processes leading to the purchase of armoured personnel carriers uncovered by 3 separate inquiries, there is a need to review the number of LAV IIIs ordered by the Labour Government and the mix of wheeled/tracked vehicles. National is committed to refurbishing the Army's equipment, a commitment that was made in the 1997 Defence Review and confirmed in equipment announcements made in 1998 and 1999 by the last National Government.

The present 6 Orion aircraft will not be fully inter-operable with other nations, based on the decisions contemplated by the Government's defence policy. This severely limits the capacity for New Zealand and Australia to share the burden of airborne maritime surveillance in the South West Pacific, and limits New Zealand's capacity to play a full part in securing peace with our friends and allies elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region. National favours upgrading our ability to meet our own surveillance needs and our shared obligations with Australia.

Military technology is changing rapidly, and is expected to accelerate in the near future. This will present challenges of affordability for a small nation like ours, but equally there are significant opportunities to meet our core needs with new technology and capability. The role of special operations forces like the SAS is likely to become more critical in future, and National will ensure the SAS is fully equipped and able to work with like forces of other nations we are in coalition with. National will undertake, as part of the Defence Review, a full assessment of these opportunities, including for example whether there is a role for unmanned aerial vehicles and other forms of new military technology in the NZDF.

National will:

· establish a Defence Force with balanced combat and peacekeeping capability to meet threats to our interests and responsibilities, primarily but not exclusively, in the Asia-Pacific Region

· not depend on other countries for our core combat defence capability. National will restore an appropriate form of air combat capability into the NZDF

· ensure the decisions on our defence will be in New Zealand's hands, not in the hands of others

Part 2 Committing to New International Relationships On defence matters, as in other areas, the relationship between Australia and New Zealand is the worst it has been for many years, whatever diplomatic niceties are presented by the Labour-Alliance government.

Achieving our policy objectives will require a willingness on the part of Australia and New Zealand to negotiate a new relationship, based trust and certainty for long term defence planning. That is why National is proposing a new NADR Treaty. It would replace the present CDR (Closer Defence Relationship), which is an informal inter-governmental arrangement only.

Embodying the NADR into a Treaty would formally recognize our most important defence and security relationship - with Australia - and should enable greater stability in defence policy and planning, especially New Zealand's.

The proposed improved relationship with the United States will involve a comprehensive review of aspects of our ties where we can work more closely together, notwithstanding the differences there are over the nuclear legislation. A closer role for both countries in improving inter-operability and combat training where we work together in coalition operations or peacekeeping is essential.

National will:

· negotiate a New ANZAC Defence Relationship (NADR) with Australia based on full interoperability between the ADF and the NZDF; and embody the NADR in a Treaty

· build on the improved relationship between New Zealand and the United States on security, defence, coalition and peacekeeping matters, ideally with the active support and involvement of Australia.

· restore New Zealand's close working relationship with its FPDA Partners (Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and the UK)

· ensure New Zealand is able to play its part as a responsible international citizen within the UN and appropriate coalition arrangements, as well as within the regional security arrangements essential for our vital defence and economic interests

Part 3 Commitment to Public Involvement In the past, New Zealand governments have not involved the public in reviewing and changing the country's defence policies. The Labour-Alliance government certainly didn't, even in the face of a Parliamentary select committee report that did not recommend the disbanding of the air combat capability of the Skyhawks, for example. National will involve the public very directly by undertaking public consultation before any decisions are taking, in much the same way that the Labour government in the UK and the Liberal government in Australia have done in the last few years.

National will re-institute a centre for strategic military and foreign studies based in a reputable university, which was abolished by the Labour-Alliance government. We will want the new centre to liaise very closely with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute established in 2002.

National will seek to establish a multi-party defence policy following a comprehensive public consultation process similar to that implemented by the Australian government in 2000, and the UK government in 1998/99.

National will:

· adopt a new approach to making defence policy by preparing a Defence Review for use as a public discussion paper. The paper will incorporate National's policy principles in this document. National will then conduct a comprehensive consultation process throughout New Zealand within a few months of assuming office

· establish a Centre for Strategic Military and Foreign Studies

Part 4 Commitment Backed by Funding Every country in the Asia-Pacific region backs up the commitment to defend their people with adequate funding. Australia spends about 2 percent of GDP on defence and is raising this level. Singapore, a country the size of New Zealand in population terms, spends about 4.5 percent.

New Zealand presently spends barely 1 percent of GDP on defence and the 2002 Budget shows we are on a path towards 0.8 percent inside 5 years. New Zealand's per capita defence spending is half of Australia's, 2/3rd of Japan's, and barely 1/5th of Singapore's[2].

National will explore different financing arrangements for funding new equipment purchases. National will set up an agency within the Ministry of Defence to explore different private financing initiatives (PFIs) and inter-governmental opportunities, for example along the lines of that achieved when the last National government proposed to lease the F-16s to replace the Skyhawks.

There have been weak defence offset opportunities for New Zealand since the ANZAC frigate project. As part of the NADR Treaty negotiations National will assist the development of a high technology defence industry in New Zealand which can benefit from, and contribute to, a closer defence relationship between New Zealand and Australia. Developing offset capability is consistent with the development of the Knowledge Economy, as shown by the ANZAC ship project. Some 800 New Zealand companies built up technology capability that would not otherwise have happened and allowed two-thirds of the cost of the RNZN's frigates to be funded by ANZAC ship related exports to Australia. The proposed purchase of a multi-role vessel will give us the chance to maximize offset opportunities for New Zealand, and National will support the Government getting the best for New Zealand industry.

National will:

· substantially increase New Zealand's defence spending from the present inadequate level of barely 1 percent of GDP

Part 5 Looking After Our Defence People NZDF personnel serve the country's interests in many countries around the world, often under dangerous and uncomfortable circumstances. They deserve the best in pay and emoluments recognizing the conditions they must work in. National will see this happens.

National will:

· review the pay and emoluments of defence force personnel, and ensure they receive the recognition they deserve in the service of the country

------

[1] For example, the Battle of Crete was a disaster for NZ troops as there was no air cover in spite of the expectation the British would provide air cover to Australian and NZ troops.

[2] Source : "The Military Balance 2000/2001" published by The International Institute for Strategic Studies, UK.


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