From the NZ Listener online in December 2008 not long after our new government was installed late last year. My son found this article and was almost pissing himself laughing so I had a look myself and thought it followed on well from my earlier post about Australia seeing us as an easy target.
by Jon Bridges
An open letter to the incoming Minister of Defence
You’re new. It must be hard, but sort of exciting. I hope you have a nice desk. Please take a minute to allow me to set the scene. Think of this as an informal briefing.
It’s at uncertain international times like these when the powerlessness of being small really stings. We can bark all we like, but the world knows our bite is harmless. Our voice is louder than our size in terms of sport – why can’t we also punch above our weight in terms of military might?
This is where you come in, Minister. There is no time like right now for you to make our military a bit more … military.
First, why not call yourself the Minister of Attack? It just sounds better. Meaner. Remember the best defence is a good offence. Even the word “Minister” is half “Mini”, which sounds a bit pathetic. Change it to “Maxister”. You sound bigger that way. It costs no money to change the title – we don’t have to actually increase our attack budget – but immediately it gets the rest of the world thinking, “These guys mean business.”
Second, let’s turn to our peacekeeping forces. Again a simple name change will make all the difference. Call them the “arse-kicking forces”, and here’s why:
Instead of “we’re not interested in war, we’ve got some pretty nice peace here and we’re keeping it, thanks”, our arse-kicking forces will say: “We’ve got all the ingredients for war over here, and if you step out of line we’ll make a batch today.”
The reality is, we can’t afford planes. When you join, the air force asks if you can fly a plane, and if you say “yes”, they say, “Sorry mate, you’re overqualified.” Internationally, we are known as the country that took the arms out of army, the force out of air force. Most of the planes we do have were made in either 1965 or 1966. Alert Taxis has a far more up-to-date fleet. It’s a fiscal reality. But do we have to tell everyone?
By visiting www.airforce.mil.nz, our foes can read details of the weight, payload capacity, range, age and full specs of every aircraft and squadron and details of the bases they are at, including the address. The only thing they can’t read on the website is which mat the keys are under.
This “reveal-all” policy would be great if we had any good planes. Our air force has a proud history, but we should probably keep the fact that most of our planes are from the 1960's a secret.
I’m not saying remove the website, just make it scarier. In the “what planes we’ve got” section, copy and paste a whole lot of photos of nasty planes and helicopters, preferably ones manufactured this century, bristling with high-tech weapons, and don’t say where they are. (If it’s about budget, my sister designs websites.)
Furthermore, the symbol of our air force isn’t that scary, either. There’s a kiwi inside what looks like a target. It’s a great-looking logo, and it means a lot to us, but a flightless bird inside a target isn’t a great air force logo. It says: “Line us up in your sights, because we haven’t got any planes.” Accurate, maybe; forbidding, no.
A dirty great magpie with a gun and an ugly look on its face would go a long way to making us seem more dangerous.
Again, Minister, these are just ideas.
My final advice to you is to change our national anthem. God Defend New Zealand would be fine if it was just the line in a song instead of being our actual defence policy.