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NZDF-Can't Fight, Float or Fly!

SOLO-NZ Press Release: NZDF-Can't Fight, Float or Fly!

September 17, 2008

Recently, the Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force, Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae wrote, 'Those who doubt the courage, commitment, comradeship or integrity of the men and women of New Zealand Defence Force are misinformed.'

"Huh? I am not aware that any public criticism of the courage or commitment of a single member within our armed forces has been uttered. So what is the Lieutenant-General on about?" asks SOLO spokesman Philip Duck.

"It seems that he has his dander up over recent press coverage on the capabilities of New Zealand's armed forces. 'Sadly,' he notes, 'some commentators lumped together any output targets that were not met and characterised the Defence Force as being unable to fight, float or fly. This is just wrong.'

"Well if it's wrong, why then does the 2007/2008 Defence Force Annual Report find that our air force had 'insufficient personnel' to meet air and ground crew requirements? Why does the report state that our army was 'partially' ready for low-conflict events but not equipped to meet circumstances of a higher threat? Why does the report find that our navy was able to send ships such as the Endeavour, the Te Kaha and the HMNZS Canterbury out on the seas for less than 65% of the budgeted time because of 'equipment and capability issues' and lack of seamen?

"It makes for sobering reading doesn't it? Yes, the Labour government has provided more than $4 billion over the last few years to replace obsolete equipment. Yes, personnel levels are the highest in seven years. Yes, Labour has also budgeted to spend, until 2014, increasing amounts on defence under its 'Long Term Development Plan.' And that is better than the weasels of the National party; the best they can offer is a promise to produce a White Paper during their first year in office. But it is not enough. After 20 years of Labour and National governments wickedly running down military spending, it is simply not enough.

"The fact is that New Zealand is not ready to face a significant security threat of any kind, today.

"Yet, Lt-Gen Mateparae, who acknowledges that 'At no time in my 36-year career in New Zealand's armed services can I think of a time when as much was being asked of our men and women,' chooses to respond with some bizarre 'comradeship and integrity' smokescreen bullshit.

"C'mon Sir! Your purpose - to protect freedom - is noble, and one of only a few that government should concern itself with," Duck concludes. "You need more guns, ships, aircraft, soldiers, sailors and seamen. Show your own courage and commitment and publicly ask for them. Now."


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