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RSA research supports defence funding decision

RSA research supports defence funding decision

Other areas still need to be addressed

Wellington – May 4, 2005: Research published today by the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association (RNZRSA) supports this week’s government announcement to increase defence spending.

Releasing the paper ‘Defending New Zealand – A Statement by the RNZRSA’, president of the RNZRSA, John Campbell, said that, despite the funding announcement there were a number of issues surrounding policy and process which still needed to be addressed which will benefit from public discussion.

“We were delighted with Monday’s announcement by the Defence Minister. This validates our research and the views of many of our members. The Defence Force is assured of full RNZRSA support in coming to grips with its difficult manning position over time.

“While the government announcement to increase defence spending is welcomed, there are a number of important issues still to be addressed like future force structure and composition and strategic policy direction. These are issues than cannot be addressed simply by throwing more money into vote defence.

“New Zealanders have become alienated from the formulation of defence policy. Our desire is for a return to a more open and consultative model of defence policy making, as was recommended in the Select Committee Report of 1999: “Defence Beyond 2000.”

“We hope that by publishing this document we can encourage public engagement and debate on issues of defence policy that should concern all New Zealanders.” Mr Campbell said.

Defending New Zealand is a 58 page exploration of the defence policy and planning process. The document is the result of a widespread consultation with RNZRSA members over concerns with defence policy and processes. The document is the result of widespread consultation within the RSA movement, and is the organisation's considered position.

“This document has been published for all New Zealanders and the hope of the RNZRSA is that it will be read and studied to both spark and inform debate and discussion on a wide range of defence issues. It is worth noting that of 11 chapters, only one is concerned with finance, highlighting the broad range of defence issues that we want to encourage the public to consider,” said Mr Klitscher, Chair of the RNZRSA Defence Committee.

Copies of ‘Defending New Zealand, A Statement by the RNZRSA’ can be downloaded in PDF format from: http://www.rsa.org.nz

About the RNZRSA

Founded in the wake of the turmoil of Gallipoli 90 years ago. The RNZRSA supports ex-service personnel and their families and is one of the largest voluntary welfare organisations in New Zealand. The RNZRSA has in excess of 130,000 members who belong to branches spread from North Cape to Stewart Island. To learn more about the RNZRSA, visit www.rsa.org.nz


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