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Kudos to “The Veteran”

Written By: - Date published: 11:45 am, August 21st, 2010 - 20 comments
Categories: act, blogs, rodney hide - Tags: , , ,

Reading about Act ritualistically disemboweling themselves this week has been interesting, and has quite a few implications for the political landscape at the next election. The factor that has been attracting my attention was highlighted by Fran O’Sullivan this morning – where did those defense papers wind up.

Roy went troppo suggesting a security breach after Hide took a draft defence document from her office.

The dossier quotes her as saying: “Much more concerning about this paper is the fact that the Minister of Defence, Wayne Mapp, has told me that he has been informed by a National Party activist that Act board Member, Nick Kearney, has a copy of this paper.

“He said Nick Kearney has shown the activist the paper and encouraged him to write an article for the blog ‘No Minister’. The activist has told me that he will not do anything with it – it is a sensitive document of national security significance and it was raised with Wayne Mapp because of this serious concern.”

Nick Kearney has since revealed he resigned from the Act board when another member who was aligned with Roy made the “jaw-dropping” allegation that he had the paper. He has denied any role in this affair.

For those you don’t know The Veteran’s writing, he is generally centre-right and very concerned with defense matters. Not publishing and not even posting on the contents was well-done.

As much as I would like to see more debate about our defense forces policies, I don’t like defense documents floating around. I was a territorial medic myself in the late 70’s and early 80’s and I can see, depending on the type of document, there could be some pretty severe consequences for our people in current or future times.

There has been a blog site Kotare – The Strategist that used to regularly look at these types of issues for NZ and worldwide. However it finished up in June. Pablo over at Kiwipoliticio (and other publications) also looks at some of the more strategic aspects. But you’d have to say that the numbers of people talking about our defense posture are few and far between. The Veteran, in keeping with the No Minister standards, doesn’t write in any depth on the military – but at least he writes something. I’d write more myself, but I’m having problems keeping up with all of the areas I’m currently involved in….

The Veteran posted about getting our MP’s to spend more time with the military so they have a better understanding of the issues. There are a number of other MP’s that have had some close associations with our armed forces over the years through family members and from their duties – Phil Goff for instance. But I’d agree that we could do with more politicians taking an interest. It means that when the shit hits the fan, which it will inevitably do at some point, they’ll have a better idea about what their military advisers are telling them

Another endearing trait of The Veteran is that (like me) he is no lover of the ACToids. I liked his departing comment before he went to aussie.

The lunitic Right fringe of the ACT Party will breathe a sigh of relief to know the The Veteran will be absent from the end of this week through until 25 August. I am in Australia as a guest of the Liberal Party looking at campaign tactics.

He could probably do with a getting a better spell-checker. But despite being on the other side of main political divide, his discretion earns him some kudos amongst bloggers. It is a welcome change to the idiot fringe that sometimes seems to dominate the blogging world.

20 comments on “Kudos to “The Veteran””

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    I dont go for this cotton wool stuff for any old military ‘secrets’. If its floating around the beehive then all the more reason to be public.
    Labour poured 100s millions$ into defence programs that were very thinly justified. And when there is an inquiry, lo and behold the files seem to been tampered with.

    • lprent 1.1

      I’d support the military and relevant politicians being more open about what is going on with defense policies. Maybe I should do some OIA’s around that area despite the stronger restrictions there. There is a paucity of information on defense matters for NZ on the net as far as I can see. It is a lot of money with a poor public overview

      However I don’t think that leaking to a blogger is a particularly good way to approach it.

      I do support having a reasonably effective military for a number of reasons. Not the least of which comes from my background in earth sciences and the military role in civil disaster situations which is especially relevant for NZ.

      • pmofnz 1.1.1

        “paucity of information on defense matters for NZ on the net ”

        Quite rightly so. Obviously you are not in the ‘need to know’ loop. Defence has security for very good reasons and releasing the finer policy details to any Joe Bloggs for scrutiny is not good business.

        Suffice to say, we get extremely good value from our Defence initiatives, but as always they could do with bucket loads more, instead of them having to fight for and justify every dollar. Without question, we should be automatically spending upward of 1.5% of GDP on our Defence Forces.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1

          IMO, 3% to 5% would be about right but not through the capitalist system as that tends to cost more without any benefit. Of course, spending more does mean that taxes will need to be raised.

          • ghostwhowalksnz 1.1.1.1.1

            DTB:Completely crazy, even Australia doesnt do that much (1.8%)

            • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Not really, although that amount could be brought down after a time. ATM we need to develop some NZ made weapons as we won’t be able to depend upon delivery from overseas contractors.

              • comedy

                “ATM we need to develop some NZ made weapons as we won’t be able to depend upon delivery from overseas contractors.”

                ha ha ha ha ho ho he he fuck you’re a card.

                [Fast getting tired…RL]

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Still not engaging the brain there I see comedy.

                  • felix

                    Haven’t you heard? We are not now and never will be capable of making anything in NZ, ever again.

                    It’s called “ambition”.

                • Luxated

                  It isn’t really that stupid, it largely depends on how you define weapons though. OTOH NZ businesses have been involved in whole or in part of the follow projects for the NZDF.

                  – ANZAC class frigates.
                  – Lake class IPV (At least hull and superstructure entirely built in Whangarei, probably final fit out as well).
                  -Upgrades to the Orion and Hercules fleets.
                  -Kahu UAV (design and construction).
                  -B757 refit.
                  -PAC air-trainers (build mainly as I think PAC bought the design although I’d imagine that they’ve updated it since then).

                  There are probably a fair few more that we could be (or may already are/were) involved with.

                  -Light vehicle design and construction LOVs would have been a prime example of this.
                  -Licensed small arms manufacturing.
                  -Design workshare on large projects that we want to buy into (for style but not size thing Australia’s contribution to the F-35).
                  -Greater involvement in heavy shipbuilding (rather than continually relying on BAE Australia (was Tenix).

                  A fair few more no doubt but I think that is enough for a quick list.

                  But remember people ‘we can’t build anything in NZ’.

              • Armchair Critic

                I’m not that keen to have an arms industry developed in NZ, Draco.

        • ghostwhowalksnz 1.1.1.2

          There is no justification for spending more. Does Ireland spend as much as the UK, does Portugal spend as much as Spain. ( %GDP). Of course not . They are a beneficiary of their smaller size and larger neighbour.
          In defence distance is everything.
          As for the things we can chop. Do we need a fleet of antisubmarine aircraft ? Do we need a dedicated artillery capacity – the 105mm guns are too small and are better replaced by larger mortars.
          We waited till the mid 50s to drop the coastal artillery, when the 30s should have been a better time ( a failed concept that really never needed after the Napoleonic Wars). The Holland government bought a reconditioned British cruiser in the mid fifties, with only a 10 year life , when we could have got 2 new frigates with a 25 year life that were more suited to our needs.
          The LAV, while a good idea, by the time we got them , IED resistant vehicles were really needed. Blame that on the Nats , who did nothing for their 9 years, and then labour had to make some defence friendly gesture after getting rid of the skyhawks ( which were out of date when we got them in 1969 and probably not a good idea to upgrade in the late 80s).
          WE could make sure Defence has a modern document management system which means the use of paper files which can be shredded ( like there were for the UN housing scandal) cant happen.
          If the US can have a Marine Corps which combines naval, army and airforce units we can save heaps by doing the same. ( not the Canadian system)

          • pmofnz 1.1.1.2.1

            Your suggestion ‘do we really need a fleet of anti-sub aircraft’ is shortsighted in the extreme.

            The bulk of both our exports and imports are sea borne. The mere threat of a submarine near or a mining operation in the defined but narrow approaches to our ports would cripple this country in very short order. We don’t have many ports capable of handling the large items, so it would be very easy for a hostile to blockade NZ. We only have one oil refinery. So, I would think it a high priority that Defence is skilled and practiced in anti-sub processes.

            • ghostwhowalksnz 1.1.1.2.1.1

              Even during the Cold War, was any Soviet submarine ever seen in the Southern Hemisphere.
              Mining NZ harbours would be way down the list of any possible hostile powers target list.
              The current Orion fleet can maintain say one plane in the air at the time, and of course we have a very large ocean area. Its a joke!
              Unless they are going to run about 12 planes and then minesweepers as well, best not point out to the taxpayers that we are wasting money here, by thinking about re fighting WW2

      • ghostwhowalksnz 1.1.2

        I think this ‘secret’ was about the structure of the reserves. Hardly will have the foreign powers a buzz.
        The sort of minor government secret that can and does leak out.
        Hide seems to want to dump the Local government portfolio after the local elections and maybe try to get Defence for himself, as Mapp is the well known doormat, should be a done deal

  2. Sanctuary 2

    The lack of any credible threat to our home islands makes current defence expenditure appropriate – just – to our needs. Any major threat should be met with a nation-in-arms, not a professional (basically mercenary) army. Citizen conscripts demand an accountability from their politicians that professional soldiers do not.

    However, we may need to raise capital expenditure with the looming block obsolescence of the airforce. Given the growing power of China we should NOT cut our already slim ASW capabilities. There may not yet be Chinese SS and SSN’s in the South West Pacific, but without the P-3 force we wouldn’t have any ability to detect them either way. The C-130 force will need urgent replacement very soon.

    We should not even attempt to build a local, private defence industry. The threat of the military-industrial complex is to severe for even a hint of this happen here. Instead, if a threat develops we could easily establish state arsenals to provide the weapons we may need at the lowest possible cost, the get rid of these when we no longer need them.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      The threat of the military-industrial complex is to severe for even a hint of this happen here.

      Why do you think I said that it shouldn’t be done through the capitalist system. Basically the way I see it is a government R&D developing weapons/strategies with minor production to maintain a ready force with that being ramped when needed.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.2

      The Hercs are being upgraded. But seems to be another stuff up in the process as is typical with Defence
      Even though they are 40 years old.
      In plane terms they are more likely 10 years old as they have such low annual flying hours

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