Greens welcome Key’s clear rejection of air strike force

Green Party Defence Spokesperson Keith Locke welcomes Prime Minister John Key’s unequivocal rejection of an air strike force.

“An air strike capability is not necessary for our key defence tasks, which are peacekeeping and protecting the economic zones of New Zealand and our Pacific Island neighbours,” Mr Locke says.

“It has been costly enough to upgrade the aircraft we actually need – the Hercules transporters and Orion surveillance squadron – as well as purchase some new helicopters.

“The Greens also appreciate John Key’s rejection of the Aermacchi jet trainers, which are currently in cold storage alongside the Skyhawks.

“It is hard to justify the Air Force spending money on Aermacchi jet training. Pilots so trained may well disappear overseas to countries that actually have an air strike force.

“With a peacekeeping focus to our overseas deployments it is hard to justify either an air or naval combat capability. Thankfully, we are also moving away from a frigate-based navy with the Multi-Role Vessel and six patrol boats coming on stream.”