Monday, October 01, 2007

National foreign affiars

National released its foreign affairs. To put it simply the policy is to do exactly what labor would do - except leaving the door open to change a few unspecified things.

Politically: a winner - National does well by having no political point of difference because that leaves less weak points where they could be attacked.

In practice: Not so great
1) There is no point to having an anti nuclear policy.
Carbon is probably more dangerous than nuclear - shall we ban carbon fuled ships?
I have a solution just tell everyone there is an anti nuclear policy - but it will never be checked and even if it is discovered the penalty is $1 and it needs to be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt (i.e. samples of uranium).

2) Maintaining defense spending
NZ needs to get smarter about what they will do with their military budget. National has hinted that they might look at it - but they will not do it correctly. The bottom line is we need to define the core role of our military - and it is nonsense for that to be anything other than "defending NZ". Then train the army to do that and only that. Don’t build a NZ military designed to fight some huge army or something when we know full well it will either never get used or be totally useless.
So what does that mean in practice? Well no frigates, in fact we hardly need boats at all - if we have a peacekeeping mission we can buy a plane ticket to there and save a billion dollars on the difference. Each NZ can pocket the extra few hundred dollars. Heavily armored vehicles? Almost no need etc.
But training skills at guerilla warfare - yes indeed - and it is cheap.

3) foreign aid
To focus on the pacific.
That is a good idea - you get more money back from donations to the pacific than to Africa so you can afford to donate more, simple really.


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