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National will strengthen defence & keep bases open

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman

National Party Defence Spokesman

9 September 2014

Media Release

National will strengthen defence & keep bases open

National will continue to strengthen and modernise the New Zealand Defence Force and keep all NZDF camps and bases open if re-elected, says Defence Spokesman Jonathan Coleman.

“We value the ongoing work and commitment of defence personnel. Defence is integral to promoting and advancing New Zealand’s broader interests,” says Dr Coleman while releasing National’s Defence & Security Policy today.

“National is committed to investing further in defence, and we want to continue the clear direction we have already set.

“We inherited a massive funding hole from the previous Labour Government, and there was no defence strategy for 13 years. We delivered a Defence White Paper setting the strategic direction, and we commissioned the Defence Mid-Point Rebalancing Review to balance funding, policy and capability.”

Budget 2014 confirmed an investment of $535.5 million operating funding for the NZDF over the next 4 years.

Recent Government decisions to purchase over $1 billion of new capability -- including new naval helicopters, a frigate combat systems upgrade, new army vehicles, an SAS battle training facility and a new pilot training package -- represent a significant commitment to supporting our security interests.

“National in government will continue to modernise the Defence Force’s capabilities – purchasing new rifles, a new supply ship, upgrading the Army’s Light Armoured Vehicles, and the Air Force’s Orions,” says Dr Coleman.

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“We recognise that personnel are the most important asset of the defence force, and National will continue to focus on service conditions and place an ongoing emphasis on health and safety. It is pleasing to see that attrition is well below the long term average, and morale has continued to trend upwards since 2012.

“Our camps and bases play a crucial role in New Zealand’s regional economies, and National will keep all camps and bases open and operational.

“We will also continue to support New Zealand’s defence industry.

“We will improve the tender process to make it easier for businesses to participate in defence contracts.

“The percentage of defence expenditure spent in New Zealand has grown from approximately 50 per cent to 66 per cent over the past seven years. This equates to about $800 million injected into the economy through local businesses.”

National’s Defence & Security Policy is available at: http://ntnl.org.nz/1qyiwhh

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