Thursday, April 20, 2006

ACT MP joins the NZ Army

According to stuff.co.nz, ACT list MP Heather Roy has signed up for the territorial army.

And after all the mud-slinging in Parliament, crawling on her belly through muddy ditches at Waiouru holds no horrors for the 42-year-old Karori mother of five, who is to start her six weeks of basic training this weekend. Way to go.

"I thought long and hard about it and have been considering doing it for some time," she said. "It's now or never."

Ms Roy, who has been going to gyms for 12 years, said she passed the basic fitness test with ease and was looking forward to the training "with equal amounts of enthusiasm and trepidation".

"I know it's going to be pretty hard but I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Asked if the public would get good value for the salary she was paid as an MP, she said she had timed her army training so she lost the least parliamentary time possible. She had also made provision for her parliamentary work to be covered while she was away.

To avoid any suggestion of double dipping she plans to give her territorial pay to a charity approved by the Returned and Services Association. You can't say that is a bad idea.

"What the taxpayer will get out of me is somebody who has a much better perspective of how things operate at a grass-roots level in the defence force."

She said there was unlikely to be any clash between soldiering and politics, or her role as ACT's national security spokeswoman. In fact it will give her some excellent insight on how the military needs to be built up in NZ.

"I don't expect there are going to be any state secrets." Is there any though?

Military rules will bar her from political activities while she is on duty or in army uniform as you'd expect. I am sure it would raise some eyebrows in the house if she rocked up to Parliament in Military fatigues.

She said there was no argument about her absence from ACT leader and Epsom MP Rodney Hide, the party's only other MP, and she had the blessing of Defence Minister Phil Goff and Speaker Margaret Wilson.

Excellent... NZ needs more people like ACT MP Heather Roy. Good on you.

Question is..... Do YOU think it is a good idea for her to be doing this?

11 comments:

TonyC said...

I've got no problems with that, as long as her time for being an MP is not too much affected. This will last longer than her term in Parliament. I admire people who do that -- I know one who does. Personally, what I'd like to see is have those juvenile delinquents picked up and forced into the Military full-time rather than mope around and have the time to tag fences. Use them for something else and teach them the value of work, and make them pay their way.

Aaron Bhatnagar said...

It's a FAR better application of time than going on a crass TV show.

Mind you, should we be cynical that this is perfectly timed for ANZAC Day next Tuesday?

Personally I don't care. If someone dons a uniform, they deserve our respect.

Anonymous said...

You said: NZ needs more people like ACT MP Heather Roy.

Exactlly. Like Major Ron Mark from NZ First and Captain Richard Worth from National.

Rob Good said...

Good good....

Rymann said...

Will someone please explain why the NZ armed forces need "building up"?
Did I miss something? Are we going to finally wage war on France?

I think for a country the size of NZ, the percentage of GDP spent on the military is about right
as it is. Unless we get in an arms race with Norfolk Island. Bring it, bitches.

Rob Good said...

Ry, NZ still needs a defense force weather or not there is hostility in the vacinity.... Peace keepers with the ability to shoot are needed throughout the world. NZ has to pull it's weight. It is embarassing that the general consenses of opinion is tht Australia and the USA will protect NZ if there ws an issue...

Rymann said...

I agree, having a viable force for peacekeeping is both needed and warranted. I would however hate to see spending ramped up to a huge degree just to save face in Canberra and Washington. Ideally, i would like to see NZ becoming completely neutral, a Switzerland of the Sth Pacific if you will.

Rob Good said...

Rymann, : Switzerland being a neutral country, its army does not take part in armed conflicts in other countries. However, over the years, the Swiss army has been part of several peacekeeping missions around the world.

All able-bodied male Swiss citizens are conscripted to the armed forces. For women the service is voluntary. Since 1996, Swiss citizens can apply for civilian service instead. This option is only available to those found to be not physically fit enough to join the armed forces. Entry to the civilian service is based on moral grounds and subject to a successful application.

In 1993, the Swiss government ordered 34 FA-18 fighter jets from the United States of America, which were subsequently re-built in Switzerland, notably for the electronics.

Famously, members of the armed forces keep their rifles, ammunition, and uniforms in their homes for immediate mobilisation. Swiss military doctrines are arranged in peculiar ways to make this organisation effective. Switzerland claims to be able to mobilise the entire population for warfare within 12 hours. In contrast, it can take several weeks to several months for a militarily-active country such as the United States to mobilise its military force. However, in January 2006, the Swiss defence authorities declared that it would take 8 years to rebuild the army to be ready for a full war against a large enemy.

Swiss building codes require radiation and blast shelters to protect against bombing. There is a bed for every Swiss person in one of the many shelters. There are also hospitals and command centres in such shelters, aimed at keeping the country running in case of emergencies.

Moreover, tunnels and key bridges are built with tank traps. Tunnels are also primed with demolition charges to be used against invading forces. Permanent fortifications are established in the Alps, as bases from which to retake the fertile valleys after a potential invasion. They include underground air bases which are adjacent to normal runways; the aircraft, crew and supporting material are housed in the caverns. The concept of underground fortifications in the Alps stems from the so-called "Reduit" concept of the World War II. It was intended that if the Axis Powers were to invade Switzerland, they would have to do so at a huge price. The army would barricade itself in the mountains witihin the fortresses, which would be very difficult to take.

If agree with you that NZ should be more "Swiss" They seemed to be orgaqnised and have the ability to DEFEND themselves.

TonyC said...

Switzerland follows a policy of "armed neutrality." They can't hold off an attacker forever, but the invader will do so at a very huge cost. That's why Hitler decided to go AROUND Switzerland rather than through it. The Swiss post office is fully active during war, serving as the distribution network for military orders -- and that includes orders for detonating the aforementioned bridges. On several main roads, the central median can be removed to serve as a runway for the Swiss Air Force. A Reader's Digest writer was shown by a Swiss fellow how he can be ready for war in 18 minutes, in full battle gear with backpack and rifle. Yet Switzerland has the least number of crime due to lost firearms. Men have mandatory military training, because to be a citizen of Switzerland, it is your duty to protect it. Neutrality in itself does not guarantee freedom from harm. Several European countries were neutral during WWII, yet got invaded by Hitler anyhow. That still means we need to be prepared.

Rob Good said...

There is no doubt that NZ needs to be prepared Tony.

greengazelle said...

I respect that. I think it will onlymake her a better leader of her people to see life from thier perspective. NZ rules differ from the US in one cannot hold office while actively in the military, even if the two do not conflict.