NZ credibility disappears off the radar

Green MP Keith Locke says the purchase of Israeli military hardware for our defence force has compromised New Zealand’s role as an impartial advocate for peace in the Middle East.

Cabinet papers reveal that the Defence Force has bought top-secret Israeli radar for the air force’s Orion patrol aircraft.

“We shouldn’t be supporting the Israeli military-industrial establishment by buying their equipment,” said Mr Locke, the Green Party Defence spokesperson. “How appropriate is it to buy technology that is getting a daily workout targeting Palestinian people and neighbourhoods for destruction?

“Such purchases sully our good name as an advocate of peace in the Middle East and cast into doubt the sincerity of the Government’s ‘hard line’ over the Israeli spies’ scandal.

“The real reason for buying Israeli was that the Australia had already done so for its Orions and our Defence Force has long been fixated on keeping in synch with the Aussies. There is no question that we could have gotten a perfectly good radar system from another source.”

Mr Locke said the New Zealand Government should think very carefully before following the overtly anti-Palestinian policies of the Howard government.

“Australia was one of only five countries to vote against a UN resolution calling on Israel to tear down the West Bank wall,” said Mr Locke. “That action, and his slavish support for Bush’s invasion of Iraq, has reduced Howard’s credibility in the Middle East to zero.

“New Zealand now risks its own credibility by shopping for its defence supplies in the Israeli military marketplace.”