New Zealand: disarmament

The other day the government of New Zealand announced a major shift in the country's defence strategy, limiting New Zealand's military cooperation with Australia and changing the shape of the defence force. The official reason for the change is the assumption that New Zealand does not face any military threat from other countries. The armed forces, therefore, should not be maintained to defend the country, but rather for peacekeeping roles on behalf of the international community. The new strategy eliminates a need for a strike capability. Consequently, the New Zealand Air Force will not have any fighter aircraft from now on. The Navy is not expected to proceed, either, with a purchase of the third frigate built in Australia. The New Zealand defence force would be limited in size and 'contracted out' for UN peacekeeping operations. Speaking in Canberra, the Australian Prime Minister John Howard said that the New Zealand's defence policy can only be decided by the New Zealand government. He added, however, that any country making critical changes in its military strategies must be prepared to 'bear consequences' of its own decisions.

Henry L. Marconi PRAVDA.Ru Sydney, Australia