“New Zealand’s embarrassingly ancient Defence Force planes are so decrepit that the PM has to bring a spare in case one of them breaks down on a stopover. The emissions created by taking the extra plane is the equivalent of driving a Ford Ranger the distance of a trip to the moon three times,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Some people might bring a spare phone charger with them while travelling overseas in case they lose one or it breaks. Chris Hipkins needs to bring a spare Boeing aircraft with him. This extravagance is typical of Labour’s wasteful attitude and reckless disregard for Kiwis’ money. The fuel bill for the bonus Boeing would have been in the vicinity of $150,000.

“New Zealand’s out of date air fleet is becoming a source of national embarrassment. Last year the PM was stranded in Antarctica and had to be saved by the Italians, the Defence Minister was stranded in the Solomon Islands at one point as well.

“So much for a climate emergency. The amount of CO2 emitted by this extra plane would be the equivalent of someone driving a Ford Ranger 606 times the length of New Zealand.

“That’s worth remembering next time you’re coughing up thousands more dollars for your new work vehicle because of the Government’s ute tax, all supposedly in the name of reduced emissions.

“The problem is that the Government is underinvesting in defence. 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 would address this by committing two per cent of GDP to Defence spending.

“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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