There are several reasons to be pleased the government has scrapped plans to base a squadron of Singaporean F-15 jets at Ohakea.
We are an independent country and shouldn’t be providing a base for another country’s armed forces.
Singapore may well have used its F-15s in a way that compromised New Zealand’s efforts to steer clear of potential conflicts in the Asia/Pacific.
Also, Singapore is not a model of democracy – it is effectively a one-party state.
The cancellation of the Singapore deal is also a setback for the Air Force hawks who thought basing fighter jets here might soften Kiwi public opinion for the reinstatement of an RNZAF fighter squadron. The disbandment of our Skyhawk squadron back in 2001 was an important step towards a more relevant configuration of our defence force, and one less subordinated to the Western alliance. I was proud to be Green Defence spokesperson back then, successfully working with Helen Clark to scrap New Zealand’s air combat force.
The cancellation of the Singapore deal also means the residents of Manawatu will be spared the noise of fighter jets repeatedly screaming overhead.
New Zealand will also save on the “significant investment in infrastructure” required for the hosting of an F-15 squadron, which Defence Minister Ron Mark cited as a big reason for turning down a deal.
All in all the cancellation is a good decision.