New Zealand. Extensive cuts in defense were announced in
the spring. The Labor government said it intended to sell
all the air force's combat and exercise plan and reduce its
funding for the Navy while providing the Army with new
equipment to play a greater role in peacekeeping operations.
Countryaah, Prime Minister Clark justified the decision with a lack of
money and that the country did not face any apparent
security policy threat. The decision drew criticism from
Australia, with New Zealand's defense cooperation, the United States
and the Conservative opposition.
In September, the state took over Air New Zealand to save
it from a looming bankruptcy. The airline had been
privatized twelve years earlier.
In September, New Zealand received 150 boat refugees who were
refused to land in Australia. However, these would be
included in the 750 quota refugees the country had promised
to receive in 2001-02. Prime Minister Clark later called on
the UN to address the issue in order to find an
international solution to the problems.
Opposition leader Jenny Shipley resigned in October and
was replaced by former Finance Minister Bill English.
During an official visit to China in April 2014, the
colorful prime minister sparked scandal when he declared
that New Zeland would back up if the US and Australia
attacked North Korea militarily. Opinions he had to withdraw
the following day. New Zealand has been supplying soldiers
for almost all of the United States wars since World War II.
At the November 2014 election, Key's Conservative Party
retained its backing - stepped back a bit but won a more
mandate. The big loser was the Labor Party, which went 2
terms back to 32. It was the 4th election with decline for
the party. Parliament's 3rd largest party, the Greens,
retained its 14 seats. The big winner of the election was
the second Conservative party NZ First, which ran for 4
terms until 11. After the election, Key continued as prime
minister of his Conservative government.