And what about the premises? Well, the government is going to sell them. And then it will lease them back. Or, as Associate Defence Minister Heather Roy puts it:
"The Defence Force doesn't necessarily need to own everything. It could work in a partnership where somebody else owns the land or owns the buildings and they're leased back," she said.Of course, some might object that the Defence Force already owns all the property it needs and does not need to sell it to some fly-by-night operation and then pay said operation for the right to use what it once owned. But this is the sort of sound business sense that we have already come to expect from this government. We do this sort of thing in our own lives, don't we? We sell the car to the neighbour, and then lease it back from him. After all, this may be a property-owning democracy but we don't have to own everything.
But wait, there's more. The defence review will also conclude that we need to have Voluntary National Service. ACT has been working on this exciting idea since 2007. Way back then, they already had concluded that it is a logical choice. So there is no arguing with that, is there? Look at the benefits:
A Voluntary National Service scheme would involve a closer integration of all areas of national security - including defence, police, civil defence and emergency services. The scheme could also be extended at a later date to include other areas of skill shortage and could include closer ties between national security and social policy areas.Now, some might object that we do not want our defence force integrated with the police and other services, that such integration is the sort of thing which goes on in military dictatorships. Some might say that we do not want closer ties between national security and social policy areas, that the job of the military is not to solve the country's social problems and that social policy is best left to the professionals who know about such matters. But such objectors do not see the obvious benefits:
"The VNS concept - being developed under the working title of 'Your Country - Your Choice' - offers significant citizenship-building potential and would be the first scheme for decades that enables new arrivals to New Zealand to identify with their country, flag and anthem, and share a bond with those Kiwis who gave so much to build this nation.And also share a bond with those students paying off their debt. There really is nothing sinister about this. We won't be calling these chaps Janissaries, will we? We will simply have an army of people who are serving to pay off debts owed to the government, or to gain their citizenship. These people will not be indentured labourers or mercenaries, will they? And they won't be just a military force; they will be integrated with all areas of public service. After all, in many countries the military takes on roles which were not traditionally associated with soldiering. We need only look as far as our neighbour,Fiji, to see this integration at work.
At ease, men.