13 May 2019
The counter-terrorism exercise between New Zealand Special Operations Forces and United States forces, which was suspended on Thursday following the death of a member of the NZSAS, has resumed today (Monday).
The resumed activities taking place between now and the end of May include training with United States ground and air units in locations around the North Island. The air activities will include aerial gunnery at Kaipara Air Weapons Range and combined mission planning.
As a result of the incident last Wednesday in which Lance Corporal Nicholas Kahotea died, the scope of the exercise has been reduced, with some of the more complex training modified.
Chief of Army Major General John Boswell said: “Safety is always our paramount concern. While we continue to look into the cause of the accident, I am satisfied that the measures put in place will allow us to continue with the remainder of this exercise safely.”
A police investigation into Lance Corporal Kahotea’s death on behalf of the Coroner is taking place and the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is holding a Court of Inquiry to establish the facts of the accident, so it would not be appropriate for the NZDF to comment further.
Note to Editors: Training will be suspended again tomorrow (Tuesday), when the private funeral of Lance Corporal Kahotea will take place.