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Black Week For NZ Defence

9 December 2001

This week is a black week for the Royal New Zealand Air Force and the defence forces in general, National Defence spokesperson Max Bradford said today.

"Today's arrival of the Skyhawk squadrons back to New Zealand from their Australian base, Nowra, is severing the good relationship that has existed between New Zealand and Australia.

"On Thursday the air combat wing, which has had a long and proud history back as far as 1916, will be disbanded.

"It is ironic that this is happening at the very time when the combination of air power and ground forces are winning a new form of war against terrorism in Afghanistan.

"We will not be able to play a full part in this in future because we will have no air power and our ground troops will have to beg and borrow air support from other nations.

Today Opposition Leader Bill English and Mr Bradford placed half-page advertisements in a nationwide newspaper thanking RNZAF personnel for their service to New Zealand.

"Not having fired a shot in anger for 40 years is proof of your success, not failure, in keeping the peace.

"Thousands of Kiwis have served their country in the Skyhawk and Aermacchi squadrons over many years. You have inspired young New Zealanders to reach for the sky and extend their personal horizons," they said.

Ends


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