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Salient. Victoria University Students' Newspaper. Volume 39, Number 25. October 4, 1976

NZ's Defence Committment in Asia

NZ's Defence Committment in Asia

The defence committment is a major component of NZ's foreign policy towards Malaysia and Singapore. The most recent policy announcement in this area by the Minister of Defence (Mr McCready) has been that Wellington has faithfully decided to maintain a foot in the door in South-East Asia on behalf of Washington.

The decision was shrouded in such verbal nonsense as the need in Singapore and Malaysia for NZ's defence know-how. In other words the Malaysian and Singapore governments need to feel that they have NZ experts at their back which allows them a free hand to deal with internal subversion and aggression. The following figures put the NZ defence effort in context and shows how pretentious and inflated the National's government's view of itself is.

"Full of philosophical cobwebs"

"Full of philosophical cobwebs"

Total active personnel in armed services 61,000
Army 51,000
Air Force 5,300
Navy 4,800
40 Combat aircraft.
Total active personnel in armed services 30,000
Army 25,000
Navy 3,000

95 combat aircraft (about 90 more than what NZ has).

New Zealand
Total active personnel in armed services 12,630
Army 5,553
Air Force 4,232
Navy 2,845

10 combat aircraft (of which 2 are constantly operational. This being due to fuel shortage in NZ).

From the above figures it can be seen that Malaysia and Singapore can more than cope with its internal security problems. It is difficult to see how NZ's technical know how would be beneficial when both K.L. and City Hall (the building which houses the office of Singapore's oriental despot - Lee Kuan Yew) are expanding their sources of weapons procurement and technical know away from the traditional sources of which NZ is one. Furthermore, NZ is not a defence manufacturer of any significance.