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National's Position A Blow To Defence Force

4 August 2005

National's Position A Blow To Defence Force

The refusal of the National Party to commit to restoring the Air Force's Strike capability is a kick in the teeth for an already beleaguered Defence Force, says Democrats for Social Credit Defence Spokesman, Richard Prosser.

Referring to comments made by senior party figures on TV1's Close Up programme on Wednesday August 3rd, Mr Prosser said it appeared that National were backing away from earlier commitments to rebuild the Strike wing.

Mr Prosser said that many dedicated service people had "hung in there" through Labour's program of disarming and peace orientation, in the hopes that a change of Government would bring a return to common sense in Defence priorities.

"Now that it appears we may be about to swap Tweedledum for Tweedledee, a lot of them will simply give up in disgust, and leave," he said. "Recruitment and retention rates are already down across all three services, and this will get worse until Governments - or would-be Governments - realise that people don't want to serve in some unarmed, Mickey Mouse Peace Corps."

"Democrats for Social Credit in Government, as well as doubling the size of the Army, will restore both the Air Combat Force and the six-frigate Naval strength which New Zealand maintained during the fifties and sixties," Mr Prosser said. "Air and Sea-based defences are the only effective ways that New Zealand, with our small population, can protect our people and territory, or contribute effectively to regional security."

Mr Prosser said that the Defence of the nation was the first responsibility of any Government. "If National wants to govern, it should learn that with power comes a responsibility to make correct decisions where important matters are concerned," he said. "National appears to still be a little way from understanding this."

"The National Party needs to make a clear policy commitment, now, before the election," Mr Prosser said. "The 'Trust Me' approach isn't good enough in the world of MMP."


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