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Govt welcomes release of Australian Defence Paper

NZ Govt welcomes release of Australian Defence discussion paper

The New Zealand Minister of Defence Mark Burton has welcomed the release this afternoon of a Defence Review discussion paper by the Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

"Australia is tackling the same defence issues facing the New Zealand Government," Mark Burton said.

"These include questions of what our defence needs are, what role we want our Defence Force to play, what is the best way to structure our Defence Force and what is the best way to spend the Defence budget.

"There is a comfortable parallel to the work being done in our respective countries," Mark Burton said.

"Australia is about to go through a consultation process with the public, as has already been done in New Zealand through the select committee process, which resulted in the Defence Beyond 2000 Report.

"The discussion document only makes a passing mention of the close defence relationship with New Zealand," Mark Burton said. "This is no surprise, and simply reflects the fact that the document has a very specific focus on capability development and the future roles of the Australian Defence Force.

"During our recent talks in Wellington, Australian Defence Minister John Moore restated his country's commitment to a strong strategic partnership with New Zealand.

"Following the consultation period, I look forward to the Australian Government's release in December of a White Paper on Defence Policy," Mark Burton said.

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