18 September 2012
NZ Defence Force personnel delivering election material to Papau New Guinea highlands.
Being ready and able to respond, especially in the Pacific, has been a focus of activity in the past year the New Zealand Defence Force Annual Report confirms.
Chief of the Defence Force, Lieutenant General Rhys Jones, says that in keeping with the strategic direction set in the Government’s 2010 Defence White Paper the Pacific is a key driver of capability development.
"Our Pacific neighbourhood is the primary focus of the Defence Force’s ‘Future 35’ strategy," says LTGEN Jones.
A key enabler of Future 35 is the establishing of a Joint Amphibious Task Force (JATF), which will be in place by 2015. While the JATF will primarily be structured for the deployment of combat forces, the most likely contingencies it will be used is for disaster relief and conducting missions in our region to support nation building.
"The Annual Report confirms we have made good progress in the last year with work having commenced on developing joint amphibious training; a deployable joint headquarters has been stood up, able to command operations offshore and co-ordinate the efforts of other governmental, international, and non-governmental organisations in a crisis; and the first of the new NH-90 helicopters arrived."
LTGEN Jones says another significant milestone achieved during 2011/12 included providing a high readiness platoon as part of the ANZAC Ready Response Force, capable of responding at very short notice to regional contingencies in the South-West Pacific such as humanitarian and disaster relief.
Other significant events focused on the wider Pacific region during the past year were as follows:
- HMNZS Otago operated in the South Pacific conducting patrolling of the Cook Island’s exclusive economic zone.
- The NZ Defence Force provided sea and air surveillance and patrol capabilities in support of Pacific Island states’ maritime resource management and protection.
- A detachment of three Iroquois helicopters along with aircrew, maintenance and support personnel deployed to Papua New Guinea (PNG) as part of an Australian Defence Force-led (ADF) Combined Joint Task Force, providing assistance to the PNG Electoral Commission in transporting election staff and materials to and from remote areas.
- New Zealand assumed the role of Maritime Surveillance Adviser in the Cook Islands, assisting the Cook Islands Government to manage their marine resources.
- A joint NZ Defence Force, ADF and US operation provided emergency water supplies to drought-stricken islands in the South Pacific.
- A 100-strong NZ Defence Force contingent delivered a range of specialist healthcare services to the people of Samoa as part of Exercise Tropic Twilight 2012.
- Diesel fuel was supplied to Penhryn Island in the north of the Cook Islands group, to guarantee domestic utilities including power generation.
- Significant support was provided to Pacific and Asian states via the Mutual Assistance Programme (MAP). Some 76 activities were undertaken with South Pacific nations, while the rest were conducted with South East Asian countries.
These developments came on top of the international deployments the Defence Force was delivering on for New Zealand: "At any given time, the Defence Force has deployed between 300 – 1,000 personnel, on more than 10 different operational missions around the world in support of New Zealand’s security," says LTGEN Jones. [Click here to see the latest clip from NZ Defence Force's deployment to Timor Leste http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZ-EMXhYIsI]
"Behind those deployed is an organisation of good men and women – Regular Force, Reserve Force and Civilian – all helping to ensure our success. I thank our people for their commitment to our mission of keeping New Zealand secure."
Meanwhile, the Chief of Defence confirmed the Defence Force’s reform programme, one of the most ambitious change programmes in the Public Sector, was on track to deliver $350 million – $400 million annually from efficiency savings to sustain and enhance front-line capabilities by 2014/15. At the end of 2011/12 savings for re-investment in front-line priorities of around $140 million had been achieved.
"This week I was able to announce $45 million new investment in the remuneration of Defence Force people, because of the efficiencies found in other areas of defence," he says. "Reinvestment of savings into people, equipment and training to improve our operational capability has always been our goal. The first years have been hard but now the rewards are there to be seen and had."
For more information contact Defence Communications Group on 021 487 980.
To view the 2012 Annual Report Click Here