The Labour-led coalition’s move to place a $2.3bn order for new Poseidon anti-submarine hunters has opened the biggest split so far among the parties supporting the coalition.
Green Party defence spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman says her party opposes the purchase because it is a continuation of the old “war-style” obsession with weapons.
“They’re incredibly expensive because they’ve got that war-making capability that we feel New Zealand really needs to lead the way in moving away from.”
Questioned on Morning Report on the Green Party view, acting PM Winston Peters dismissed it: “ I don’t have a response to that”
Ghahraman believes the view that NZ needs bigger bombs belongs in another century.
The Green Party says the government should not go ahead with equipping the new planes with missiles and bombs. The Poseidon is similar to the commercial Boeing 737, but can be fitted with missiles, torpedoes and solar technology specially designed to hunt submarines.
The announcement of the new aircraft came straight off the back of the government’s long-term defence strategy which outlined the global and domestic risks and challenges facing New Zealand.
Defence Minister Ron Mark, announcing the biggest purchase of defence capability since the Anzac frigates three decades ago, says the previous government put off the hard calls on defence procurement for far too long.
“It would be irresponsible of this government to continue to kick that can down the road.This is a government that’s not afraid to make hard decisions, particularly those that are inter-generational in their effect and have an impact on capital spending”.
National’s defence spokesperson Mark Mitchell said National had put a lot of work into the Poseidon plan and was pleased to see the project advanced.
“It’s pleasing to see this government has finally made the right decision.”
In response to questions about the massive $2.3b cost, acting Prime Minister Winston Peters said it was not a lot of money given how long the aircraft will be flying for.
“You’ve got to factor this over 35 years… In fact the equipment we have now was going 50 years ago.”