Greens welcome patrol craft replacement for frigate

Green MP Keith Locke has welcomed government moves to replace the frigate Canterbury with patrol craft.

“Patrol boats will be much cheaper to run and will be more relevant to New Zealand’s real security challenges which lie with illegal fishing, drug smuggling, and environmental disasters,” said Mr Locke, the party’s defence spokesperson.

“We don’t need the expensive weaponry the frigates have, and these boats tend to spend too much time overseas on military exercises.”

Mr Locke said he was pleased the Prime Minister had also rejected any anti-submarine capability for the Orions.

“Project Sirius, which was geared to submarine detection, would have beena $568 million waste of money. I believe New Zealand should look seriously at civilian aircraft doing much of the maritime work. The Orions only do three percent of Australia’s economic zone surveillance. The rest is done by the Customs’ Dash-8 aircraft,” he said.

“National is circulating horror story’s about the likely Australian response to these decisions. Surely, it is in Australia’s interest for New Zealand to have a more relevant defence force, which can better handle peacekeeping and maritime surveillance work.

“Not proceeding with another frigate, phasing out the Skyhawks, and cancelling Project Sirius will free up a great deal of money for more appropriate and relevent defence spending,” he said.

Keith Locke MP: 09 630 0789

Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719