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Website Challenges Defence Costs

Website Challenges Defence Costs

Most New Zealander taxpayers are shocked when they discover how much they pay for their defence force, the creator of a new defence costs website says.

"New Zealand's defence spending is not small", says Peter King, an investigative journalist with a long time interest in proportionate defence spending.

"The latest budget shows we spend more on defence than police, the environment and pharmaceuticals put together." he says.

"For example in the latest budget defence got an extra $300m over four years compared with Pharmac which got an extra $124m over four years. Which will save the most New Zealander's lives? I don't think it will be defence."

Mr King says defence spending is often unchallenged because we have been conditioned by defence spending on historical commemorations to think of defence spending in terms of world war two scenarios which are no longer relevant. He says the biggest threat to New Zealand is really from our geology and the most dangerous military threat is cyber attacks.

"Defence spends too much money on things which could be done far cheaper by the civilian sector, and by trying to maintain a capability the country neither needs nor can afford," he says.

Mr King says that if New Zealand defence spending was in line with similar nations in Europe it would be a third less liberating nearly $1.3 billion for problems such as social housing, eradicating poverty, and reducing taxes. Moreover he believes defence spending could do much more to contribute to New Zealand's innovative industries including aerospace, engineering, adventure tourism and fashion.

more details are available from www.defencecosts.nz

ends

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