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A Modern Navy Matched To NZ's Needs

The future shape of New Zealand's maritime force was revealed today by Defence Minister Mark Burton.

"The Government is committed to equipping the Royal New Zealand Navy with a practical fleet that is modern, sustainable and matched to New Zealand's needs. This will involve a significant increase in the current naval fleet and a more focused use of existing resources."

"This announcement follows the first ever comprehensive analysis of New Zealand's maritime patrol requirements, both civilian and military," Mark Burton said. " Decisions have been taken on the basis of the Maritime Forces Review, released today, and the earlier Maritime Patrol Review, released in February 2001.

"The reviews have identified gaps in the Navy's current ability to meet all tasks, in particular, sealift and civilian patrol requirements. Cabinet has therefore agreed to spend up to $500 million on capital acquisitions for the Royal New Zealand Navy," Mark Burton said.

"This will include a multi-role vessel, at least two offshore patrol vessels, and four or five inshore patrol vessels. The inshore requirements could possibly be met by upgrading the Navy's existing five inshore patrol craft.

"The two key timing issues are filling the gap in civilian agency patrol requirements, and bringing into service a multi-role vessel to replace the Leander class frigate Canterbury, due for retirement in 2005.

"I have therefore directed the Ministry of Defence to canvass proposals from industry to meet the requirements for a multi-role vessel, and offshore and inshore patrol requirements. Opportunities for New Zealand industry involvement will be explored. The New Zealand shipbuilding industry has already indicated that there would be considerable scope for New Zealand involvement.

"Once input from industry has been analysed, I will put acquisition proposals forward to Cabinet.

"The government has embarked on a badly needed equipment modernisation programme across all three services; navy, air force and army. This is expected to involve capital spending of around $2 billion over the next decade, as we provide our defence personnel with the right equipment to do their jobs," Mark Burton said.
Key Facts

 The current Royal New Zealand Navy fleet consists of:
2 ANZAC class frigates HMNZS Te Mana and HMNZS Te Kaha
1 Leander class frigate HMNZS Canterbury
1 replenishment ship HMNZS Endeavour
1 diving support vessel HMNZS Manawanui
4 inshore patrol craft HMNZS ships Moa, Kiwi, Wakakura and Hinau
1 hydrographic and oceanographic survey ship HMNZS Resolution.

 The Royal New Zealand Navy of the future will include the following elements:
2 ANZAC class frigates HMNZS Te Mana and HMNZS Te Kaha
1 Multi-Role Vessel
2 or more offshore patrol vessels
1 replenishment ship HMNZS Endeavour
1 diving support vessel HMNZS Manawanui
4 or 5 inshore patrol vessels
(The need for a hydrographic survey capability is the subject of a separate review nearing completion.)

 The Maritime Forces Review involved all of the relevant government departments and agencies: Ministry of Defence, New Zealand Defence Force, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ministry of Fisheries, New Zealand Customs Service, Treasury, Department of Conservation, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Maritime Safety Authority, New Zealand Police and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.

 HMNZS Canterbury is due for de-commissioning in 2005. To ensure there is no loss in training capability and no major fluctuation in the number of navy personnel required, a smooth transition from Canterbury to the Multi-Role Vessel is necessary.

 The report released today, "Maritime Forces Review Key Findings", is available on the Ministry of Defence website: www.defence.govt.nz


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