Search

 

Cablegate: National Party Defense Policy Continues Labour

VZCZCXRO0962
PP RUEHCHI RUEHFK RUEHHM RUEHKSO RUEHPB
DE RUEHWL #0763/01 2891846
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 161846Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4809
INFO RUEHZU/ASIAN PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY 0697
RUEHSV/AMEMBASSY SUVA 0663
RUEHBN/AMCONSUL MELBOURNE 0118
RUEHDN/AMCONSUL SYDNEY 0581
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHHJJAA/JICPAC HONOLULU HI
RHHMHBA/COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 WELLINGTON 000763

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

PACOM FOR FPA, PACFLT FOR FPA, OSD FOR JESSICA POWERS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/16/2022
TAGS: MARR MASS PGOV PREL NZ US
SUBJECT: NATIONAL PARTY DEFENSE POLICY CONTINUES LABOUR
COURSE

REF: WELLINGTON 757

WELLINGTON 00000763 001.2 OF 002


Classified By: Classified by DCM David J. Keegan. Reasons E.O. 12958, 1
.4 (a), (b), (C), and (d).

1. (SBU) Summary. National's recent "discussion paper" on
foreign policy, trade, and defense, committed the party to
continue the rebuilding of the New Zealand Defence Force
(NZDF) initiated by Labour PM Clark. National MP Wayne Mapp
argued that it was Labour who began its term in 1999 by
accepting and implementing a new approach proposed by
National. He endorsed Labour's emphasis on a maritime patrol
and logistics support role for the Navy and said that the
abortive F-16 sale of 1999 was an ill-conceived effort to buy
American friendship. The challenge ahead would be to deepen
capabilities without substantially expanding the defense
budget much beyond the current 1.1% of GDP. Approaching 2011,
the government would confront the need for a new maritime
patrol aircraft, a possible second multi-role vessel, and
perhaps a frigate. He agreed that reliability and
sustainability for all services would be key challenges. End
Summary.

2. (SBU) National Party Defense spokesman, MP Wayne Mapp,
told DCM that National's defense policy laid out in its
recent discussion paper (see Reftel for overview) was the
product of many years of discussion dating back to a
Parliamentary Select Committee that National Party MP Derek
Quigley had chaired in 1999. He noted that many of the
decisions taken by the Labour Party in 1999 were in fact
National Party initiatives. Thus it made sense that National
is now largely endorsing the approach that Labour has pursued
over the past eight years. After all it is the approach they
designed

F-16s and Buying Friends
------------------------

3. (SBU) The exception was Labour's decision to cancel the
sale of F-16s, which the then National Government had wanted
to secure. Mapp explained that only the long time it took for
the first delivery gave Labour the opening to cancel the
contract when it came into office. He noted that National
chose in its last days in office however not to push to
accelerate lease/purchase arrangement, which would have
gotten at least a few aircraft to NZ and made the contract
impossible for the incoming Labour Government to cancel.

4. (SBU) Mapp said that the National Government had been
considering either a third ANZAC class frigate to improve
relations with Australia or the F-16 purchase to improve
relations with the U.S. They decided that the politics of the
U.S. relationship made the F-16 purchase more important. He
said he shared, albeit very quietly, Labour's judgment that
the F-16s did not make operational sense for the NZDF. They
would simply soak up too much funding.

Labour Policy is Correct
------------------------

5. (SBU) Mapp gave credit to the Labour Government for
following through on the approach that the National
Government had developed in the 1990's. It emphasized certain
key competencies: a small expeditionary ground force, with
both special ops and mil/police expertise; maritime
surveillance and patrol using both air and sea; and a limited
transport capability using the MRV and the C-130s. He said
that a new National Government would continue that mix.

6. (SBU) He added that he was confident that a future
National government would keep military funding at the
current 1.1%, perhaps a little more, which would be
sufficient to continue and even deepen the support for the
New Zealand Defence Force's current capability mix. Adding a
combat air would require going up to 1.5% of GDP, which would
not be politically sustainable.

The Future for the NZDF
-----------------------

WELLINGTON 00000763 002.2 OF 002

7. (SBU) The challenge would be two-fold. First, before
2011, NZ would need to decide on the next generation of
acquisitions. He cited particularly the need to replace the
current Orion maritime patrol aircraft with the new
generation of U.S. aircraft, Poseidon, which are also being
acquired by Australia. The second challenge would be whether
and where to deepen capabilities. He noted that there could
be a real value to acquiring a second MRV, a sister ship to
the Canterbury. A second option would be a third ANZAC class
frigate.

8. (SBU) Any of these choices would only make sense in
close coordination with Australia. The Poseidon would most
effective if its use were coordinated with the Australian
military The MRV would provide a capability to the combined
Aus/NZ military, but would not really be appropriate for NZDF
use alone. The frigate would need to be completely
interoperable and logistically compatible with Australia.

The Challenge of Sustainability
-------------------------------

9. (C) DCM noted that the approach Mapp laid out made
sense and seemed to track very closely with the current
Labour Government's approach to defense strengthening, which
we believed had been valuable. The challenge was to ensure
that it was sustainable. Mapp said that he was confident that
current levels were sustainable, but 1.5%, even 1.3% would be
very difficult. DCM also noted that we pay very close
attention to NZ's efforts to ensure that its forces are
logistically sustainable. We recognized that the could not
do everything, but it was important to continue recent
progress in that area. In addition, intelligence coordination
and NZ's recent efforts to provide insights to the U.S. were
highly valued.
KEEGAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN SDG: UN Appoints Twenty Eminent Thinkers To Shed New Light On The World’s Greatest Challenges

New York, 21 January 2021 – Twenty prominent personalities, globally renowned for their intellectual leadership in economic and social fields, will form the second United Nations High-level Advisory Board (HLAB) on Economic and Social Affairs, the ... More>>

UN: As COVID Deaths Pass Two Million Worldwide, Guterres Warns Against Self-Defeating ‘Vaccinationalism'

With more than two million lives now lost worldwide to COVID-19, the UN Secretary-General appealed on Friday for countries to work together and help each other to end the pandemic and save lives. In a video statement , Secretary-General António Guterres ... More>>

UN: Violent Attempt At US Capitol To ‘overturn’ Election, Shocking And Incendiary

A group of independent UN rights experts released ... More>>

UN: Guterres To Seek Second Five-year Term
António Guterres will be seeking a second five-year term as UN Secretary-General, which would begin in January 2022.... More>>