Green Party Defence Spokesperson Keith Locke today described the cancellation of Project Sirius as “a major step towards an independent defence stance”.
“This decision is an historic turning point towards a peacekeeping capability, and away from preparations for large-scale war-fighting, under the command of the United Sates,” said Mr Locke.
Mr Locke said that abandoning Sirius will free up money for army-based peacekeeping, backed up by helicopters and Hercules aircraft. He said events in East Timor and the Pacific have clearly shown that a well-equipped peacekeeping force is what New Zealand requires.
“Why should we waste hundreds of millions of dollars equipping the Orions with a cutting-edge anti-submarine capability just because the Americans and the Australians want us to do so?” he asked. “When did we last see a hostile submarine around New Zealand’s coast?
“The Project Sirius cancellation is a major step towards an independent defence stance which puts New Zealand’s needs, and those of our region, ahead of Western alliance dictates.
“The Greens stands beside the government to take any flak from Washington and Canberra over the cancellation of Sirius,” said Mr Locke.
“We fully support the announced review of the non-military requirements for maritime surveillance in our region. There’s room for improvement in fisheries monitoring and detection of drug smuggling and pollution at sea,” he said.