1 May 2019
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) transported about 400 officials and 10.5 tonnes of voting material during its recent support mission in Solomon Islands.
Working as part of a Combined Task Group led by the Australian Defence Force, 55 NZDF personnel and two Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopters helped transport election officials, Royal Solomon Islands Police Force personnel and voting material, to remote communities for the South Pacific country’s recent general election.
Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour said the NH90 helicopters flew 47 missions, covering 21,000 kilometres, to transport election officials, ballot boxes and voting material to outlying islands.
Together with the Australian Defence Force, the NZDF helped the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission ensure that voting material was delivered to the 1200 polling stations spread across six large islands and a number of the 900 smaller islands that comprise Solomon Islands.
“The logistic support provided to Solomon Islands by the NZDF continues a history of partnership between our two countries which dates from the Second World War,” Rear Admiral Gilmour said.
The mission also gave NZDF personnel an opportunity to work closely with their Australian counterparts, he said.
“The ability to deploy the NH90s at short notice to the South Pacific and further afield have also increased following the successful deployment of the helicopters to the capital Honiara on a Royal Australian Air Force C-17 Globemaster.”