Response to Stuff in relation to reporting of exercise in South Auckland


Stuff has falsely claimed the New Zealand Defence Force has kept South Auckland in the dark about an upcoming exercise, when the fact is that NZDF issued a media advisory about the exercise in order to inform the public in south Auckland.

You can read the media advisory, and follow up response to media, below.

Media advisory

13 April 2020

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) will be conducting an exercise in the South Auckland and Papakura areas on 16 and 17 April 2020.

The affects and restrictions of COVID-19 have meant that much of the Defence Force training activities have been reduced significantly in line with Government direction. However critical training exercises will occur from time-to-time enabling the NZDF to maintain our operational readiness.

Over the period of 16 and 17 April 2020 a critical training exercise involving NZ Army soldiers and Royal New Zealand Air Force helicopters will be undertaken in the South Auckland area. This training will ensure our troops remain ready to respond and to support New Zealand.

To ensure the NZDF maintains its readiness to deploy it needs to undertake training in a variety of land, air and sea environments. Being able to exercise in multiple environments ensures our personnel are highly trained and able to support a wide range of domestic, regional and global security situations.

We appreciate the support and understanding from local communities when we conduct our exercises and training activities.


Response to enquiry from Stuff following the advisory

14 April 2020

The exercise happening in Auckland on Thursday and Friday is a regular training activity. This exercise has been planned for many months, and is not being conducted in response to COVID-19.

As outlined in the media advisory, the NZDF will continue to conduct critical training exercises from time-to-time - enabling us to maintain our operational readiness as required by Government. This exercise falls under that criteria.

We are aware that military activity can fuel speculation under lockdown conditions, and as such we wanted to inform media and communities that we are conducting a routine exercise and there is no need for concern.

Appropriate measures around maintaining personal health will be observed throughout the exercise.

This page was last reviewed on 15 April 2020.