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Govt acting out secret agenda set by Army

Jenny Shipley Leader of the Opposition

Max Bradford National Defence Spokesman

28 August 2001

Govt acting out secret agenda set by Army

"The Prime Minister must declare whether she has been suckered by the Army, or whether she is their co-conspirator," National Party Leader Jenny Shipley said today.

"A secret strategy document, made public by the National Party today, reveals that the Army put their own interests before our country's interests and nothing can be more serious. Further, it reveals a cynical, if not sinister, plan by the Army to manipulate MPs, select committees and the public for their own end. The Army was intent on getting their own way without any consideration for New Zealand's overall interests.

"This plan shows that the Army has been conducting a secret 'war', in a bid to influence defence policy and gain the lion's share of defence funding," National's Defence spokesman Max Bradford said today.

"The tactics for that war are to manipulate the system by placing staff in senior positions who will use their pro-army bias to secure preferential treatment for the Army. The aim is to 'gain the requisite degree of control over the policy making process', and to exploit the vulnerabilities of the Air Force 'to the Army's advantage'.

"This is a stunningly cynical and hostile document, which includes deliberate plans to manipulate Maori MPs by developing 'tribal links' and visiting Marae in order to gain 'influence both within caucus and within cabinet'," Jenny Shipley said today.

"It also advocates a strategy for influencing the Parliamentary select committee process and for influencing individuals by 'subliminal messaging'. Advocacy is one thing, but when it sinks to this level of mind games and guerrilla tactics it is going way too far.

"The document dates back to 1997, but highly placed sources assure me the campaign is on-going, and only began establishing a foothold when a close relationship was established between the Army and the Labour Party.

"We believe recently retired senior Army officers were often the conduit for the Army's strategy - in direct defiance of all of the processes established in the Defence Act.

"The current Government has bought entirely into the agenda set by this secret document. The Army is playing the tune, and the Government is dancing to it like a puppet on a string.

"There are two possibilities. Either Helen Clark has been duped by the Army, or she is their willing accomplice, and is knowingly advancing their secret agenda to the detriment of the Navy and Air Force.

"The public has a right to demand to know which is the case.

"Senior management in the Army should be working in the interests of the country and its people. Instead its top level are clearly working solely in their own interests," Jenny Shipley and Max Bradford said.

The Army document is available on National's website at www.defence.org.nz

Ends

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