Does defence need billions?
Who knows a few MPs currently desperate for support might join the gaol bird tunneling team....digging for Wellington, digging for Porirua and the Kapiti Coast...who cares as long as the job gets done.
WHY THE INCREASE TO BOAT SHED RATE?
I amdisgusted at the repeated increase of my boat shed rates at Titahi Bay Beach.
It has increased from the $200 it was a few years ago to $580 last year then another increase to $660 from June 2016 to June 2017.
I get water supplied and we pay our own power company bill. So can the Porirua and Wellington city councils prove what the rates are for?
Can they give a detailed price list of what we are charged for water etc?
There are several sheds for sale now and these increased rate prices must be a huge factor in those people deciding to sell.
I was going to leave the family boatshed to my kids for a good life, not to be a financial burden.
I wonder if councillors owned boat sheds would they vote to lower rates or raise them?
The costs involved in Defence are reliably stupendous. In February, New Zealand spent $440 million on a fresh armaments system for our Anzac frigates, even though the ships in question are on schedule to be replaced 10 years after the new kit is installed.
Then in March, the government authorised a $373m revamp of our P-3K2 Orions, also due for replacement in about ten years. Last week, the government unveiled a White Paper setting out a $20 billion spending programme for Defence in the next 15 years.
At this point, it remains unclear how this bonanza will be carved up between the costs of replacing the Anzac frigates, the Boeing 757 ‘‘strategic airlift’’ plane, the Hercules C-130 ‘‘tactical airlift’’ planes, the Orion surveillance aircraft, the combined dive ship and hydrographic vessel and the new ice-strengthened Offshore Patrol Vessel, along with smaller items.
During the working life of this equipment, no external threat is envisaged to New Zealand or the South Pacific.
Last week, Prime Minister John Key said reassuringly that, ‘‘the country can be confident it does not face a military threat in the foreseeable future,’’ but this happy outlook will not deliver a peace dividend to the taxpayer.
Apparently, Defence is a greater priority than social need. By contrast, the public health system is largely being left to cope with its existing levels of unmet need – let alone what may soon be added to that given our ageing population. Such alternatives may have been foreclosed. The new $20b of spending comes out at roughly $1.3b (minus savings from depreciation) every year until 2030.
In recent Budgets, $1.3b has been roughly the annual discretionary spend set aside for emergencies, for areas such as Health. In future, Defence could well soak up that capacity. It will be almost like having a Canterbury Finance bailout every year for the foreseeable future.
On the foreign policy front of late, New Zealand has been awkwardly shuttling between the need to placate our closest defence partner, Australia, and our closest trading partner, China.
The tensions in the South China Sea, and the related anxieties about keeping the sealanes open for our trade, are being touted as a prime rationale for spending on Defence, along with terrorism and cyber threats.
Yet simultaneously, the government is arguing that none of this will ever result in military conflict and that China poses absolutely no threat to us, or to the region.
Interestingly, while in China last September Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee said: ‘‘We do not see our defence relationships with the United States and China as mutually exclusive.’’
Meaning : New Zealand is no longer only in the Western military club. China is now seen to be our military ally, it seems, as well as a trading partner.
Plainly, the public is being given one message to justify the huge hike in Defence spending, and quite another when the government is talking down such concerns, when engaged in diplomacy and trade.
The risk of political fallout from that contradiction is considerable.