Monday, February 22, 2016

A complete waste of money

The government is currently cutting health spending. Meanwhile, it plans to spend $11 billion over the next ten years on new toys for the defence force:

Simultaneously, a government that’s willing to slash the health system is planning to spend $11 billion dollars in the next ten years on new gear for our Defence Forces. That’s not a misprint. The scale of the Defence spend-up over the next decade is truly stupendous. As yet, it simply has not sunk in with the general public just how much they stand to lose in order to keep the military in the manner to which they have become accustomed.


The money will be spent on new frigates, new cargo planes to replace the C-130 Hercules and new surveillance aircraft to replace the Orions. That cost by 2025 will be three and a half times more than the most fanciful MFAT estimates of what the TPP will deliver us by 2030. How on earth can John Key be talking about tax cuts in 2017 when this country is facing a state spending programme of this magnitude?

And most of these toys are absolutely irrelevant to our real defence needs, let alone the NZDF's stated priorities of "cyber threats and terrorism". It is, by any measure, a complete and absolute waste of money. And to do it while slashing health spending is simply monstrous.

(Cyclone Winston is showing us what we actually need: a long-range plane with a camera in it to do initial damage surveys, and a basic airborne cargo hauler like the C-130 to deliver aid afterwards. High-tech airbone ASW platforms, Globemaster jets to fly non-existent tanks around the world, and dedicated ASW and anti-air warfare vessels are not what we need to do, let alone what we want to do. But NZDF isn't interested in our actual needs; rather they're interested in prestige and getting us involved in other people's wars through "interoperability" (which is just prestige by another name). And if we want to stop them, we need to do to the navy what we did to the airforce: gut it).