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Defence Briefing Released

September 3, 2002.

Defence Briefing Released

The importance of New Zealand's role in the Pacific region is emphasised in the joint Ministry of Defence and New Zealand Defence Force briefing paper released by Mark Burton today.

Mark Burton re-iterated the briefing's statement about a key objective of this country's defence policy being a strong co-operative relationship with Australia in support of complementary interests for a secure and peaceful region. Australia continues to be New Zealand's closest and most important defence partner, although the two countries may at times differ in views, priorities and approaches to issues.

The Government's Defence Policy Framework identified the Pacific Island region as the second international defence relations priority for New Zealand after Australia. New Zealand's special obligations to its Pacific neighbours included helping to maintain peace, preserving the environment, promoting good governance and helping to achieve economic well-being.

The briefing noted the region's appreciable increase in non-traditional security challenges which posed potential risks to New Zealand interests.

"The briefing highlights that there is likely to be an increasing requirement to provide capabilities in the region, especially with Australia broadening its focus to other areas of the world," said Mark Burton.

The Minister said, " A reading of the briefing will show that there is an important regional role for a flexible, responsive, effective defence force. Recent decisions made to tender for a multi-role ship and patrol boats for the Navy are examples of the valuable and appropriate contribution the New Zealand Defence Force will make to the security and safety of our region."

Ends


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