“It is classic Labour to promise people they’ll give them more money ten days before an election. The problem is they can’t say how they’ll fund it, and they have no plans to reduce wasteful spending so they can actually afford it.

“ACT’s Alternative Budget protects New Zealand and its allies by increasing defence spending to 1.5% of GDP, or $4.35 billion over four years. We can afford to do this because we’ve shown how we will end wasteful spending. And we have a long-term target of reaching 2% by 2030.

“This would bring New Zealand in line with the NATO benchmark for military spending, while over time we will aim to reach the 2% target our traditional allies such as Australia are committed to.

“As it says in our Alternative Budget, we expect early operating spending increases will be focused on improving the pay and conditions of NZDF personnel to assist with recruitment and retention. This is a far more real commitment than Labour’s unfunded promise.

“Our Defence Force is full of hardworking Kiwis who want to protect and serve their country. We need to give our brave men and women the tools and resources they need. This kind of targeted spending would send a message to the rest of the world.

“While other parties make uncosted spending promises on the fly, promise the earth and hope to pay for it with new taxes, only ACT is being upfront with voters with serious, costed and practical policy.”

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