“Instead of stealing gold in Mini Coopers the latest version of The Italian Job has the Italian Government transporting New Zealand’s Prime Minister in a Hercules. It’s time New Zealand increased its defence spending,” says ACT’s Defence spokesperson Dr James McDowall.

“New Zealand’s ancient planes are falling to bits because the Government is underinvesting in Defence. I revealed in June that the Government had spent $71.3 million spent on “maintenance and repair” of the Boeing 757s in the past five years and there had been 4,234 mechanical failures.

“The Hercules aircraft fleet is even older. When taking them to Europe in April to distribute military aid for Ukraine a NZF Admiral told RNZ "We've become used to being able to maintain them afar and we'll just deal with problems if the aircraft gives us any ... we always have our fingers crossed a little bit but I think I'm confident we'll be able to start providing support there next week."

“Defence Minister Peeni Henare was also stranded in the Solomon Islands a couple of month ago due to breakdowns.

“At the moment we’re lucky to be able to successfully get off the tarmac let alone defend ourselves, our allies and our values in today’s increasingly volatile strategic environment.

“ACT says we should follow the NATO target and methodology. It would see $7.5 billion in extra capital expenditure over the next four years, this is almost double what Labour would spend.

“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.

“The target of two per cent of GDP is what all of our traditional allies, including Australia, are committed to and would demonstrate the seriousness with which we take our defence obligations.

“This is the kind of valuable spending that government should be doing, protecting our country and aligning us with our allies.”

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