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Budget 2018: Military spending increases again

Budget 2018: Military spending increases again, time for alternative thinking
Peace Movement Aotearoa
17 May 2018
Link to share: https://www.facebook.com/PeaceMovementAotearoa/posts/1699540463426649

Military spending has increased in the 2018 Budget to a record total of $3,755,683,000 - on average, that's $72,224,673 every week. The increase is across all three of the Budget Votes where most military expenditure is itemised: Vote Defence, Vote Defence Force and Vote Education. The amount taken from Vote Education and allocated to the armed forces this year is $1,029,000 - an increase of more than 4% over last year. Overall, the difference between estimated actual military spending in the 2017 Financial Year and this year's Budget is more than 9%.

While any increase in military spending is unwelcome at any time, it is particularly appalling at a time when there is such a desperate need for increased social spending. Although the current government does seem to be concerned about orienting spending towards ensuring the wellbeing of all New Zealanders, the increase in military spending shows that their thinking has not shifted far enough. Successive governments have said for decades that there is no direct military threat to this country but this has not yet translated into action about meeting our real security needs.

Instead of wasting billions of dollars on military expenditure each year - with many more billions planned for new combat equipment, frigates and airforce planes over the next 15 years - it is time for a plan to phase out the armed forces and transition to civilian agencies that would meet those needs. Fisheries protection and maritime search and rescue could be better done by a civilian coastguard with inshore and offshore capabilities, and that, along with equipping civilian agencies for land-based search and rescue and for humanitarian assistance, would be a far cheaper option in the long term as they do not require expensive military hardware.

Where you can get more information: The figures across the three Budget Votes are available on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PeaceMovementAotearoa/posts/1699540463426649 and as an A4 poster at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/budget2018milspend.pdf Updated information will be available on the Aotearoa New Zealand Campaign on Military Spending page - http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/gdams.htm - tomorrow.

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