Winston Peters has defended the Government's $2.3 billion purchase of Poseidon aircraft as an upgrade that will prevent existing military aircraft "plumeting out of the sky" and stop New Zealand "bludging on others all the time" in military operations.
Speaking on TVNZ1's Breakfast today the Acting Prime Minister also denied the purchase of the "submarine killing" Poseidon aircraft did not mark a transition from a New Zealand defensive military strategy to an offensive strategy.
"That's not correct. The previous utilities that we're using right now have that capability as well," Mr Peters said.
"What we're doing of course is ensuring that we are going to make the replacement changes as soon as we possibly can so that one doesn't go plummeting out of the sky at great loss to New Zealand."
The NZ First leader said all the Government has done in the purchase is "upgrade equipment that we've had around for some cases 50 years" and the $2.3 billion cost of the aircrafts would be spread over the next 35-years.
Mr Peters was also open about the fact New Zealand has "always chosen sides" in the US-China conflict, by the purchase of the US made Boeing Poseidon aircraft.
Mr Peters also denied New Zealand was eroding trust with our major trading partner, China, in the defence spend.
"Look, the Chinese ambassador made a statement the other day, and if I'm to read it correctly she is saying very clearly on behalf of her country that they don't engage in those sorts of practices, so I think the reaction for the media in this country has been some what over-empahsised when it comes to China's reaction."