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Partnership key to regional security

Partnership key to regional security

New Zealand continues to work closely with other nations to ensure security in the Asia-Pacific region, says Defence Minister Mark Burton.

Speaking to the Returned Services Association National Council meeting today, Mark Burton outlined his meetings last week in Singapore with Ministers of the Five Powers Defence Arrangement. He also attended the International Institute of Strategic Studies Asia Security Conference, alongside which he held bilateral meetings with his counterparts from the United States, Australia, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Thailand, and Timor Leste.

“Our discussions reinforced the increasing need for Defence and security agencies around the world to focus on non-conventional threats such as terrorism, maritime and border security, people and drug smuggling, and money laundering.

“But it is clear that the security of both New Zealand and our region actively involves many other organisations—particularly in today’s rapidly changing global environment. It is crucial that we gather and share intelligence efficiently with our defence partners, as well as maintain clear communication and cooperation across a wide range of non-military agencies.

“Only last week, the biggest methamphetamine lab in the Southern Hemisphere was discovered in Fiji—right in New Zealand’s backyard. This brought home the fact that distance on its own no longer affords protection from destabilising elements.

“New Zealand is a sovereign nation, and we must chart our own course. However, we must also continue to have a viable contribution available to meet our Defence responsibilities, both in our own region and in the wider international community.

“This government has developed a thorough, realistic, modern Defence policy—one that reflects New Zealand’s place in today’s global environment. We have put in place a workable plan to achieve our Defence goals and uphold our commitment as a responsible international citizen.

“For the New Zealand Defence Force to play its part in ensuring the security of our region, they require well-trained, combat-capable troops, and I am proud of this government’s ongoing investment in the NZDF. We will continue to support our Service men and women as they train, equip, and prepare to meet whatever demands are made of them.”

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