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Australian Commentator Discredits Clark On Defence

22 July 2002

Leading Australian Commentator Discredits Clark On Defence

New Zealand's defence capability has "withered alarmingly" under Prime Minister Clark's leadership said Greg Sheridan in today's Dominion Post. Greg Sheridan is the Foreign Editor of Australia's largest newspaper, The Australian.

"It has abolished its air combat capability and will, in effect, eventually abolish its air force. It's navy is headed to a two-frigate structure and will become in due course a coast guard. It can still deploy some soldiers and peacekeepers but increasingly they are losing combat capability" observes Sheridan.

"New Zealand will eventually be able to make the same kind of contribution as Bangladesh or Fiji. It can provide some bodies but will be incapable of any serious military effort anywhere" says Sheridan.

Save Our Squadrons Campaign spokesperson, David Dickens, said that Sheridan's comments accurately reflect what the Howard and Bush administrations say in private about Helen Clark's approach to defence. "New Zealand under Clark is not the New Zealand we used to be able to count on if it comes to a real fight."

Further information on the DigiPoll survey and the defence policies of the main political parties is available at www.soscampaign.co.nz or contact Dr David Dickens on (04) 475 4117.

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