Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Defence Announcement

The government's $4.6 billion boost to the defence forces is a welcome move.

Over the past decade or so, the scope of defence force activities has increased significantly, stretching personnel and equipment to the limit. At the same time, real funding decreases under National during the 1990s contributed to a running down of capability.

The government has done the right thing by commissioning a thorough cross-departmental report on the state of the forces to ascertain where the gaps are, and how much it will cost to re-build capacity. Instead of cutting corners, throwing away money on pointless but flashy hardware such as F16s, or making vague future commitments as Brash has, the government has then stumped up with a clear plan to rebuild defence capability, and the necessary dosh.

It's also wothwhile noting that the government has the ability to make significant funding announcements like this because of the good state of the books. National's tax cuts would remove the capacity of government to make these sort of big long-term spending commitments.


Anonymous said...

That’s great news and good to see the Government has come to it senses. In 2001 thousands of people (including me) marched to Aotea square in protest over the Governments scraping of our entire Air force capability. Does this mean we will have an Air force again?

Cheers Toa

michael wood said...

Hi Toa,

Yep, we definitely do have an airforce. All of the planes we have in toadays airforce are actually used, unlike the sky hawks, which in nearly 30 years were never deployed.

Toa said...

Hello Michael,
The current aircraft are only used for Air transport and have no Air combat capability. I am surprised the NZ Defence Act allowed this as I would have thought maintaining full Air, Land and Sea combat capabilities would have been a key goal of the Act. Particularly since modern warfare is now largely won from the Air. It really defies logic to not have any Air combat capability and I believe the majority would agree.

Anonymous said...

How anyone can conceive of New Zealand actually winning a war that's fought in earnest on account of a 12-strong air combat wing is beyond me.
If it gets to the point where we have to use it in defence, we'd have already lost. We can never exist in a 'balance of terror' with anyone, small island states in the Pacific excepted.

Toa said...

But that is not really a valid point because the same argument could be applied to our small number of frigates. The whole idea of the NZ Defence Act is to provide a military combat force on Air, Land and Sea for the Defence of NZ. Instead our military has been totally restructured into a peace-keeping force for international duties as opposed to the defence of NZ.

Anonymous said...

I agree - the same argument could be applied to our small number of frigates.

michael wood said...

... and Labour's policy in recent years has been to be pragmatic about what a country of 4 million can actually do with its defence forces.

The recent purchase of multi-purpose vessels for the navy as opposed to more frigates is another example of that.