“We welcome Helen Clark’s statement that Labour is not committed to proceed with the purchase of the F-16s.
“The F-16s are a white elephant, whatever the bargain price.
“In any case, they’re not as cheap as is made out. The operating cost would be many times the lease cost. We could well be spending well over $100 million a year to keep the F-16s flying.
“We welcome a debate on whether we need an air strike force. The Skyhawks have not be used against any enemy, and none is on the horizon.
“We need to spend our limited budget on our peacekeeping forces. Any surplus in the defence budget should go to health and education, not on planes whose only purpose to keep the Americans smiling on us,” said Mr Locke.