First up I have to say that today is a very slow tech-news day.
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
Days like this are real hard work when you're someone like myself who has
to work hard to come up with a fresh new idea for what must be about my
Of course when you're really at a loss to come up with something to write
about, a columnist can do what I'm doing now -- lament the lack of interesting
Fortunately, being a one-man-band, I have a bit of latitude (and I'm not
going to get beaten over the head by some editor who doesn't understand how
hard it is to do this day-in, day-out).
So let's talk about New Zealand's decision to ditch its air-combat capabilities.
Well, given the amount of technology that goes into a modern jet fighter
and its support systems, this really is a "new economy" issue isn't it?
While I am aware that a country with a coastline the length of New Zealand
and just 3.5 million inhabitants simply can't afford the size of air-combat
force it would need to effectively defend itself against a potential aggressor,
that doesn't mean we should leave ourselves totally defenseless does it?
"But wait" I hear you say, "we're getting over 100 new state-of-the-ART
(note the emphasis) armoured troop carriers for the army aren't we? Won't
To answer that question -- let me jog your memories a little. I think there
can be few Aardvark readers (except perhaps the youngest) who don't remember
that shocking footage from the Gulf War which showed just how vulnerable
even the most well-equipped ground forces are without strategic air cover.
In fact I would go so far as to say that APCs are simply a convenient (for the
enemy) way of packaging troops for incineration by enemy bombers and helicopter
So -- I tout myself as an "ideas guy" -- what's my suggestion?
Well I offer two options:
- Let's pay Australia a regular stipend in return for them stationing a
small squadron of their fighter jets here on NZ soil. This way we would
most certainly be seen to be contributing in the most concrete manner (cash)
to the security of the region.
- Alternatively, it's not stupid to go out and buy an armful of ex-soviet
MiGs for what is (by comparison with their western equivalents) little more
than pocket change. In fact I've included a link to an NZ Herald story
below which shows that some of the former Soviet Union's most potent
air fighters can be picked up for just $250,000 each.
So why did I emphasize the word ART further back in this article?
Well cast your mind back to when the current Labor coalition was elected.
What was one of the very first things our beloved Prime Minister did?
Yes, she gave unbudgeted taxpayer funds (the equivalent of 320 cast-off MiG 21
fighters) to the arts community.
I wonder, would the arts community will roll up and throw paint-brushes, scripts
and sheet-music at an attacking mass of invaders should they land on our
The phrase "Let them eat cake" springs to mind.
As always, your feedback is welcomed.
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