The Government is buying its way deeper into a military relationship with Washington by allowing the US Air Force to establish a high frequency radio transmitter in New Zealand, Green Party Defence Spokesperson Keith Locke said today.
“It is mind-boggling that just when the Bush administration is mobilising for war against Iraq, we let their military set up shop here,” said Keith Locke. “We’ve already donated troops, a frigate and a plane for their use, now we’re inextricably linking ourselves into their communications network.
“Despite the Defence Minister’s best efforts to portray the installation as some kind of Samaritan radio service for off-course Antarctic explorers, the truth is that this facility will be controlled by the US military and it will help co-ordinate US military movements worldwide.
“Clearly the main purpose of the USAF network is to allow better communication with planes being deployed to places like the Gulf.
“This move is the latest in a series of sycophantic gestures from a Government desperate to try and buy favours in Washington for a free trade deal with the US.
“It takes us back to the cringing attitude of Cold War governments, when New Zealand allowed American communications systems on our soil. In fact, one of the suggested locations is Weedons, near Christchurch, where we once ‘hosted’ a US naval communications facility.
“At least in those days we were officially part of a military alliance. Perhaps this Government has forgotten that ANZUS no longer exists and that signing up to Mr Bush’s new world order is not part of its mandate.”