I won’t go into the armed forces review National is carrying out as I expect there will be ample opportunity down the line to do so.
I do, however strongly disagree with David’s suggestions on Kiwiblog that we scrap the RNZAF. His reasoning is that because it no longer has a ‘strike capability’ (Thanks Labour) that is serves no purpose and the existing srvices could be folded into the Navy and Army.
In itself this seems to make sense.
However, if one takes a step back and thinks about what our priorities should be you could take a very different view.
If our sole intention is to contribute to the UN, then David’s suggestion makes sense. But these are supposed to be our defense forces, you know, defending NZ. Treking off on some UN jaunt, no matter how well intentioned and fitting to Labour’s and Helen Clark’s strange view of the world, it doesn’t protect our shores.
It’s our shores and NZ we should be worried about.
For example, take fisheries. Fishing resources internationally are declining or indeed have collapsed. We still have some fisheries left and increasingly overseas interested and just coming in and helping themselves as we haven’t the resources to police our territorial limits. The pressure is only going to grow as China expands it’s influence in the Pacific in it’s hunt for food resources.
We need a defense force capable of insuring the continued viability of our natural resources for our own benefit.
An Air force with a strike capability is exactly what is required, and a stronger Navy. In fact if you consider that is a country decided to invade NZ our current Army would be wiped out in a couple of days, maybe it’s the Army we should be folding into the Navy and Air force. An expanded SAS within the Air force and a Marines force within the Navy. This way we can still participate with our allies, but we have a force that recognises we are an Island, thinly populated with a large coastline.
The quickest way to get around NZ is by air, the best way to patrol our coast is by boat. The Army in fact isn’t much help, apart from maybe being able to help in a civil emergency.
If the Government wants to save some money it should fold the Army into the Air force and Navy, and use the saving to bring back the strike capability and buy more helicopters and boats.