Armstrong lashes Goff

February 1st, 2011 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

John Armstrong writes:

It being election year, has decided to hold a press conference every Monday to counter the Prime Minister’s use of his weekly media briefing to set the political agenda. Yesterday’s first effort was hardly an unqualified success.

Instead of setting the agenda, Goff found it being set for him by the media. The questions had a recurring theme – where is the money coming from to fund Labour’s seemingly ever-expanding list of promises.

I am amazed that Labour has embarked on this strategy to dent its credibility. At a time when deficits and debt are so high, you can’t just announce spending plans with no way to pay for them.

Goff’s reluctance to provide detail beyond saying Labour would ditch some projects – such as the scheduled $875 million missile upgrade for the navy’s frigates – turned the 18-minute press conference into the media equivalent of shooting a rather large fish in a relatively small barrel.

Having got rid of any offensive capability for the Air Force, it seems they want to do the same for the Navy. Regardless the $875m is a one off capital cost – these upgrades probably happen every 30 years or so. You can’t fund much operational expenditure from delaying a capital upgrade.

One example suffices. Goff gave a “heads up” on families from today having to pay an extra $25 to $35 a week in early childhood education fees, something he described as a “tragedy” for childhood learning.

So would Labour restore funding to previous levels? Goff confirmed it was a “priority”. Almost in the same breath, though, he said that would happen as spare revenue “becomes available”. Given other priorities, Labour would not be able to restore those previous levels in its first Budget.

That begged the question of when is a priority really a priority or when is a priority just something on a long list of things a new Labour Government would want to do if it had the money.

I think John has absolutely analysed it correctly – a priority means “would like to do it if we could”

Unwilling to say exactly where the money would come from, Goff sounds like someone who not only thinks he can have his cake, but also eat more of it than exists.

Heh.

Labour faces a conundrum. It has no choice but to say where it stands to have any hope of jolting the polls. Goff’s reluctance to say how Labour will pay for it all is fast turning a question of credibility into a credibility problem.

There’s a reason we refer to it as . It s lacking in credibility.

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51 Responses to “Armstrong lashes Goff”

  1. IHStewart (388 comments) says:

    $875 Mil missile upgrade ? WTF. That is more than the cost of the ” protector ” fleet . That doesn’t sound correct to me.

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  2. Michaels (1,318 comments) says:

    A few to many G&T’s were drunk the other night at the BBQ and they decided what bullshit they could pull out of the hat. Only problem was there were no answers for what they pulled, so spin and lies had to suffice.

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  3. starboard (2,489 comments) says:

    Goff’s reluctance to provide detail beyond saying Labour would ditch some projects – such as the scheduled $875 million missile upgrade for the navy’s frigates .

    I agree with Goof. We cant afford to spend almost a billion dollars on upgrading the toys. The cheque books empty FFS.

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  4. slightlyrighty (2,499 comments) says:

    Wasn’t Goff the minister of defense in a government that passed up a deal of 500 million for 28 f16s only to OK a deal for $800 million for 8 helicopters?

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  5. georgebolwing (679 comments) says:

    The missile upgrade is a detail. The key message in that paragraph was “turned the 18-minute press conference into the media equivalent of shooting a rather large fish in a relatively small barrel.” We now have the case that the press gallery doesn’t believe what Goff is saying.

    If National has a “good” result in Botany (i.e. no obvious bleeding of votes to NZ First, which given the make-up of the electorate, with its high immigrant population, is highly unlikely) then I expect Goff to be dumped soon thereafter.

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  6. decanker (222 comments) says:

    “you can’t just announce spending plans with no way to pay for them”

    This really isn’t any worse than announcing next to nothing until a few weeks prior to the last election. It was all aspirational for NZ fluff. I suspect Labour’s plans to pay for their pledges will come out when appropriate*, and if not, you could be naive to vote for them.

    * when figured out, if possible.

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  7. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “turned the 18-minute press conference into the media equivalent of shooting a rather large fish in a relatively small barrel.”

    Sounds like the word is about in the media- Goff must be shooed out to make way for Andrew Little.

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  8. Interested Party (61 comments) says:

    Andrew Little is not an MP yet – I can’t see that being a good strategy

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  9. RightNow (6,839 comments) says:

    Short version: “We’ve got nothing but bribes that we don’t know how to pay for yet”

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  10. dime (9,662 comments) says:

    starboard – you dont believe in defence?? struth.

    I actually feel sorry for Goff. Weekly press conferences are a great idea, but not when you have to try and peddle this shit. He needs to drop some lefty whack jobs and move to the centre.

    Labour is a big enough brand to supprt another split.

    Let a “new new labour” party turn up that is far left and the actual labour may regain some of their base!

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  11. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “move to the centre.”

    Hell, if he’s gonna do any rightwards moving, I’d be content to see him move to the far left. On any normal scale that’s far further than NZ’s “center”.

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  12. metcalph (1,405 comments) says:

    Goff’s main problem is that what he says now is different from what he said when Large was PM. And he was a lot more convincing then.

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  13. ISeeRed (244 comments) says:

    Tax and spend, tax and spend, tax and spend. It’s all Labour knows.

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  14. tankyman (120 comments) says:

    “Tax and spend, tax and spend, tax and spend. It’s all Labour knows.”

    You forgot bribe, bribe, bribe the poor and terminally stupid and tax the rich.

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  15. Psycho Milt (2,365 comments) says:

    Instead of setting the agenda, Goff found it being set for him by the media. The questions…

    You mean, the media actually put difficult questions to Goff? Bloody hell. Have they thought of doing it to the PM? The voters would thank them for it.

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  16. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    I agree with Goof. We cant afford to spend almost a billion dollars on upgrading the toys. The cheque books empty FFS.

    Firstly, the highest figure I have seen quoted is $400M – I’d be highly suspicious of a figure of $875M to upgrade two frigates, hell you could buy a brand new one for that price!

    Second, it does not matter if the Cheque book is empty – funding the defense forces with the appropriate equipment is a must have right now.

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  17. GPT1 (2,103 comments) says:

    Pity they didn’t ask Goff’s views on penguin sex.
    And on a serious note we haven’t been paying our defence insurance as a country for at least two decades – there is nothing left to scrimp on. That goes for both parties.
    Unless we get a penguin division I guess…

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  18. lastmanstanding (1,240 comments) says:

    All I have every wanted the Gumint to do was deliver the mail defend the shores and get the F… out of my life. So I support the Navy upgrade

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  19. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    You mean, the media actually put difficult questions to Goff? Bloody hell. Have they thought of doing it to the PM?

    Whatever…

    Ask a Labour supporter who gets the easier ride, and they’ll will say Key.
    Ask a National supporter who gets the easier ride, and they’ll say Goff.

    Suck it up princess – it’s just your perception that sux.

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  20. vto (1,128 comments) says:

    Lack of credibility? You mean like Snake-tongue Key and his lies over state asset sales and the debt position?

    ha ha what a joke Farrar.

    Key lies about the size of the debt the govt needs to repay. 85% of GDP he crows. Liar.. try about 20% Key.

    Key is deceiving the public of NZ.

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  21. annie (540 comments) says:

    Labour can’t be trusted in any case – I hope the media looks back through their promises over the 3 elections they were in office and the 4th that they lost, checking on their promises and whether they were kept.

    The two I can remember off the top of my head were free aged care (never delivered,) and a Level 3 hospital at Kenepuru which Annette King trumpeted about during the first two elections then quietly ignored her promise while Kenepuru continued to be downgraded. Despite the fact that the bulk of Wellington Hospital’s patients come from a northish aspect and many KPH patients have no transport and can’t afford to pay for taxis. Buses being fine while they run, but I’ve seen WPH ED turn sick patients out at two in the morning in the rain with no way to get home. There are more instances, but I can’t be bothered looking them up.

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  22. Andrew (60 comments) says:

    In fairness Goff isn’t being ignorred like was during the first two years – and media are talking about Labour policy for the first time in two years. Which is an improvement and arguably what he was trying to achieve with the press conferences.

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  23. starboard (2,489 comments) says:

    starboard – you dont believe in defence?? struth

    When did I say that? What Im sayin is we have no money zilch..nada..zero the kitty is empty so we cannot afford to do the upgrade. If a certain asshole hadnt spent half a billion on a shity train set we mite have been able to afford it.

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  24. Viking2 (11,261 comments) says:

    # ISeeRed (192) Says:
    February 1st, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Tax and spend, tax and spend, tax and spend. It’s all Labour knows.

    Tax and spend, tax and spend, tax and spend. It’s all either Govt. knows.
    Same socialists in different shirts.

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  25. tvb (4,246 comments) says:

    The Labour Party went through a golden decade when they could promise what they liked and no-body worried where the money is coming from. They still believe out there the money can be found and they can land the costs on a small group of people earning over $100,000. Their problem is the spending commitments are now getting very large. That means big tax rises for most of the community as they will soon find out. They really do believe people do not mind too much paying an extra few hundred dollars in tax. Labour’s problem is this money is going to the lazy and the feckless and the hard working kiwis will just not wear it.

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  26. IHStewart (388 comments) says:

    @GeorgeB
    The $875 million isn’t just detail. If Goff said it and been hasn’t misreported then I think it is very important because I would lay money he is is not telling the truth. I could be wrong but I can’t see the Navy having just had the Canterbury + 2 offshore patrol craft and 4 inshore at a cost of about $800 million being given $875 million to do a few software upgrades on the missile system. I have had a look on the Navy’s web site and could find nothing about upgrades there.

    Due to the Tenex cock ups on the protector fleet build the Navy were given an $85 million refund. I suspect that they have been told to fund the issues with the protector fleet problems and quite possibly missile system upgrades out of that.

    Goff I would think would be aware of the cost of these upgrades. If he wasn’t had has relied on an advisor for these figures he probably needs to check on the political affiliations of his advisers

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  27. jaba (2,095 comments) says:

    why do we need missiles in our warships .. we could save a fortune giving each sailor a 303??
    I’m not sure what lies Key has said over the partial sale of some assets??

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  28. jaba (2,095 comments) says:

    I understand that Gaffe is about to announce that he will sell the Skyhawkes if elected .. well, he’s sold them twice so far and we still have them .. brilliant

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  29. dime (9,662 comments) says:

    theres always money to be found for defence starboard.

    its a shame the majority of “kiwis” dislike the US so much. we could suck up and get a bunch of free shit.

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  30. slightlyrighty (2,499 comments) says:

    I very much doubt that there is an 875 million upgrade to a missile system for the RNZN, especially as only 2 ships in the RNZN are armed with missiles.

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  31. nasska (10,897 comments) says:

    Labour are wandering in the wilderness lead by a moron. Who, still in control of their senses, would make expensive promises ten months out from an election? Right now an effective opposition would be chipping away at the government’s spending & keeping their powder dry for the final election campaign.

    Goff does not read people well. He has his staunch 30% who will cling to him regardless but the centrist voters who he needs are not so stupid. Many have independently realised that it wouldn’t take much to send NZ down the shitter & rash, expensive promises may not woo them this time.

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  32. adze (1,994 comments) says:

    Defence is already undergoing cost-savings. To maintain a credible defence force means not losing key capabilities, and not replacing obsolete equipment is akin to losing that capability.

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  33. ch123 (589 comments) says:

    “Key and his lies over state asset sales”

    What lies?

    They said they wouldn’t sell anything in their first term and so far haven’t. They aren’t planning on selling anything before the election.

    They are, on the other hand, planning to campaign on selling a minority share in 4 SOEs in their second term. The electorate gets to decide if they agree that it should be done at the next election.

    Unless you have a crystal ball and can see they are going to sell more SOEs, sell a higher percentage of the 4, or something else, in their next term I fail to see how he can be called a liar.

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  34. vto (1,128 comments) says:

    Key lies about the reasons for the asset sales.

    He lies about the size of the debt when referring to the need to pay down government debt.

    He lies about the economic benefit of asset sales.

    He lies when he implies a better return on funds is gained.

    He lies when he says that it will work, this time. Ha ha ha ha ha. The plate of NZ is littered with failures in this area. Why do some fools keep believing our deceptive politicians. Best thing is to not believe anything they say and check it out yourself. They are proven liars. Key being the current King of Liars.

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  35. vto (1,128 comments) says:

    He also deceptively slips in that he wants to use the money released from the sales to support irrigation projects for dairy farmers.

    This is about the only truth he has said on the matter.

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  36. jaba (2,095 comments) says:

    are philu and vto related

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  37. RightNow (6,839 comments) says:

    Actually Phil Goff used to post as Spud on Red Alert I think

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  38. Roflcopter (446 comments) says:

    Yes Jaba, they’re joined at the anus.

    RightNow – that explains so much :D

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  39. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..If a certain asshole hadnt spent half a billion on a shity train set we mite have been able to afford it…”

    and before that..if a certain prebble arse-hole..(i prefer the english spelling)..hadn’t privatised/sold it off to the americans..

    ..who then asset-stripped it…did no maintenance..

    …and just let it run down to the piece of shit it was when labour were forced to buy it back…

    ..surely..isn’t that enough of a cautionary tale on privatisation…?

    ..just look at all the ways we were fucked over on that one..

    ..and cast your minds back to when prebble was slinging the same bullshit to justify selling…

    …as key is running with now..

    ..y’know..!..steal from me/fool me once…your bad…

    ..steal from me/fool me twice…my/our bad…

    ..eh..?..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  40. big bruv (13,552 comments) says:

    “..just look at all the ways we were fucked over on that one..”

    YOU were not fucked over by anybody Phool, you do not pay tax, therefore YOU have no fucking say in the matter.

    Speaking of people being ‘fucked over’, that is the way many of us feel every week when we look at how much of our money is being stolen from us and handed over to parasites like you.

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  41. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    No wonder poor old Goofy wants those Mondays off. Probably hoping all those Mondays off will save his sorrow arse from answering some of those tricky questions.

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  42. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    goff certainly seems to have a certain new edge/confidence…

    ..and is arguing/articulating his case well…

    ..and seems on top of his game..

    ..key on the other hand..seems tired/still on holiday in his compound in hawaii…

    ..just going thru the motions…

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  43. dime (9,662 comments) says:

    yay vto is back.

    reading vto’s posts is like reading the script to the conspiracy theory

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  44. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    “……and seems on top of his game..” Shit if he’s on top of his game now God help us when his natural game kicks in.

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  45. vto (1,128 comments) says:

    So do any of you fools have anything substantive to explain Key’s lies as truth? I take it by the pathetic single line abusives that the answer is no.

    Again perhaps;

    Key lies when he says that the debt is 85% of GDP. Government debt is in fact 20% of GDP. One lie.

    Key lies when he says the economics support the sale. The assets bring in income significantly greater than anything else that the sale funds may be able to be invested in. Including reducing the low level of government debt. Two lies.

    Key lies when he suggests it can be done in a way which will protect New Zealanders. Well that’s gazing into the future, but we always have the very recent past for study (in order to intelligibly form an opinion), including selling Air NZ and letting the monopolistic and too-important-to-fail company go broke, before having to buy it back again. Then there is Kiwirail – ha ha ha ha politicians being taken apart by the too-smart investment banking scum of Fay and Richwhite (oh, all legal of course of course). The list goes on of course. I guess those in support may be able to pull a couple out in support – say the Air NZ re-purchase perhaps.

    And Key finally lies again (or, to go easy on you dearies, Key plays the deception game with the NZ public) in not outlining what will happen when corporate interests get hold of the power companies and begin to do what they always do (and are rightly required to do) and try to drive up demand for their product (relatively easy with a growing population and industry such as dairy for example) and restrict supply (relatively easy of course, just stop or slow up building power stations). This entire point has been ignored by Key.

    And Key did in fact say that one of the things they are looking at is using the money raised, or rather leveraging the lower govt debt situation that will result, in order to assist in funding some irrigation projects.

    It aint bloody rocket science, this deceptive politician crap. Quite why some of you buy his shit I do not know. Anyway, any substantive answers out there to point to truth rather than deception? Or just more pathetic one-liners?

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  46. vto (1,128 comments) says:

    and dime you dingbat, if you recall, before I left this ridiculous site I generally supported the nats. I even voted for them. Now I don’t trust them. And I don’t like many many of the things they have done and are pushing hard to do. They are on a different tangent – subtly but strongly different – to that which they portrayed prior to the last election. Anyone recall the “Labour-lite” tag for example?

    Do you people just blindly line up without evaluating things? Don’t worry if you do, it happens with many other parts of the political spectrum too…

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  47. Right of way is Way of Right (1,129 comments) says:

    The latest Defence White Paper supported the Frigate Upgrade, and the National Government stated that it remained committed to this, and a programme of equipment upgrades for the NZDF. They also stated that there would be NO ADDITIONAL FUNDING for the capital upgrades, and that the funding for these upgrades had to come from within existing defence expenditure.

    So, to put it bluntly, to cancel the upgrade would save precisely NO MONEY!

    Mr Goff is either poorly informed, or is so desperate for a soundbite that he does not seem that accuracy matters!

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  48. niggly (813 comments) says:

    Ok, enough is enough with Goof and the NZ Labour Party.

    1. DPF said:

    I am amazed that Labour has embarked on this strategy to dent its credibility. At a time when deficits and debt are so high, you can’t just announce spending plans with no way to pay for them.

    I’m glad you said this DPF. I have been been getting increasingly concerned that from the absurd announcements coming from Goof and Co in the last few weeks, that it appears that the NZ Labour Party’s 2011 Election Strategy, in the midst of a global financial crisis, is now reverting back to the Helen Clark-era strategy of buying/bribing the electorate with outrageous promises …. but with no clear explanation of how to fund them.

    So no more JK attacks, no more “smile and wave” character assasinations etc …. instead just good old fashion Labour lies and bribes for those that are gullible to swallow. This then suggests to me that the NZ Labour Party has reached rock bottom and has no other strategy at this late point in time, apart from this lies and bribes strategy. Good grief, if this is the best that the Labour Party can do, they just do not deserve to be the main opposition party in NZ for their total lack of credibility – no wonder people have little faith in politicians.

    2. John Armstrong said:

    Goff’s reluctance to provide detail beyond saying Labour would ditch some projects – such as the scheduled $875 million missile upgrade for the navy’s frigates – turned the 18-minute press conference into the media equivalent of shooting a rather large fish in a relatively small barrel.

    Let’s expose Goof lies on this subject (and the repeat pattern of lying here), and also note that this is actually a Labour Election Strategy (a bad one IMO).

    a). Go back to 3 November 2010 when National released its Defence White Paper. See Audrey Young’s article:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10684967
    Goof offered barely any real comment on the National Defence Whitepaper release except to say the following:

    He (Goof) suggested that the pending new missile systems for frigates, worth $845 million when it was decided in 2008, could be deferred when early childhood education was facing cuts.

    Not only was it astounding that Goof, the former Labour Govt Defence Minister, said sweet FA about the National Defence Review, but the other astounding comment was the figure of “$845M” for the Frigate upgrade … and then he compared it with early childhood education cuts. Does that look like a Labour Election Strategy in motion?

    b). Go to today, 1 Feb 2011 and this John Armstrong article, whereby Goof now plucks out that astounding figure for the Frigate upgrade, but now it has risen from $845M to $875M!!! WTF!!! (Goof has increased the Frigate Upgrade costs by $30M in only two months. So does this mean at $15M/month, in 9 months time eg come early November/Election ’11, this figure will increase by 9 x $15M = $135M, add that to $875M, gives a grand total of $1020M or ONE BILLION DOLLARS!!! Woah, is this strategy designed to scare the voters by suggesting National are pouring money down the (defence) drain and make them question why Early Education is being starved of funds???

    If so, shame on you Goof & Labour Party strategists.

    c). The TRUTH is, according to the National Defence WhitePaper supporting documents (funny how National are being transparent with Defence, whereas Labour’s Defence was not transparent because it was dictated by Helen Clark over the last 25 years etc), the actual costs of the Frigates upgrades are as follows (and that assumes National actually fund them fully etc):

    * 2012 – 2016 = $300M
    * 2018 – 2021 = $200M

    Source: PDF page 73:
    http://www.defence.govt.nz/pdfs/defence-review-2009-released-defence-review-white-paper-cabinet-combined-papers.pdf

    Ok, can people see the link I am drawing with Goof’s repeated comments on the ANZAC Frigate upgrade being near $900M, which is no where near the truth?

    d). Final comment. Not only are Goof’s/Labour’s lies damaging to people’s trust in the integrity of politicians (esp when they can be “fisked” quite easily as I have done by simply reading public domain documents), but again it shows Labour will continue to use Defence as a political football (as they have done especially in the last 25 years, but not only is that a sad indictment, but it totally disrespects the men and women of the NZDF who serve their country at the will of the politicians, and also don’t have the luxury of having a “Defence Association” a la Greg O’Connor and the Police Association, who can front up to the media and politicians and correct any political misconceptions or misinformation etc). But the other appalling concern that Goof and the Labour Party are playing fire with, is the damages to NZ’s international relations with eg Australia (and maybe even the US etc), by flip-flopping and playing games with Defence (and the Frigate upgrade). Is NZ a reliable international citizen willing to help stabilise SE Asia with her Frigates (and once upon a time with the Skyhawks) to ensure trade, commerce and NZ exports can travel to SE Asia unhindered? Or does Goof and Labour want to cause ructions that could put at risk NZ exports and foreign earnings????

    By the way, the ANZAC Frigate upgrade is a necessary requirement to replace 1980′s sensor technology and Frigate Self-Defence (missile) systems to prevent the Frigates being sunk if ever deployed to SE Asia, where there is already a proliferation of anti-ship missiles (and well as a submarine expansion occuring by several nations – BTW does anyone remember Helen Clark scrapping the RNZAF Orion Anti-Submarine Warfare and detection systems, and ordered the removal of the RNZN Frigate towed-array submarine detection system?).

    Remember RNZN Frigates need this upgrade, not only to “fight” if need-be, but to more than likely in the event of hostilities/tensions, ESCORT merchant shipping as well as RNZN Sea-lift vessels (HMNZS Canterbury). If the RNZN don’t have Frigates (or upgraded capable Frigates), then who is going to do this for NZ? Australia? You gotta be kidding? The US? Oops Labour banned the US Navy in effect! Also Helen Clark’s Project Protector patrol ships have no proper sensors nor self defence systems not weapon systems capable of sinking anything bigger than a yacht, so they are no good! So anyone for restoring a 3-4 Frigate Navy again for NZ? 3 is the minimum required as that’s 1 deployed, 1 in training to replace the deployed ship (or safeguard NZ/Pacific Islands) and 1 which is undergoing a refit. With only 2 frigates at present, there are days where they aren’t available. Oh, who finally cancelled the RNZN’s 3rd ANZAC Frigate? Helen Clark of course).

    So not only do Labour not value the lives of the NZDF servicemen and women by playing defence football, they also don’t value NZ protecting the sea lanes to ensure the safe passage of NZ exports out to SE Asia, but also the safe passage of, eg, oil tankers supplying NZ (imagine if merchant ships couldn’t export and oil tankers couldn’t get to NZ – the NZ economy would crumble like a stack of cards and unemployment would skyrocket well into double figures).

    Clearly Labour don’t give a toss about the NZ economy and maintaining NZ’s well-being and way of life.

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  49. vto (1,128 comments) says:

    I see still no defence to Key’s lies there dime and jaba and roflcopter and side show bob.

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  50. Ross Miller (1,681 comments) says:

    vto … well I guess there had to be one ex Nat rat (assuming you are not telling porkies about that too) who jumped from the lifeboat onto the Titanic to make up for the 7% or 8% or 9% (dependent on which poll you look at) of ex Labour voters who have seen the light and now support National.

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  51. KevinH (1,151 comments) says:

    Correction on Armstrongs observation on Goff: ” It would be like shooting dead fish in the barrel that are floating harmlessly on the surface”.

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