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Government appoints new Defence Force Chiefs

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Defence

6 March 2006

Media statement

Government appoints new Defence Force Chiefs

Major General Jerry Mateparae will be the new chief of the New Zealand Defence Force, and be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General, Prime Minister Helen Clark and Defence Minister Phil Goff announced today.

Major General Mateparae will serve in the position for three years from 1 May, replacing Air Marshal Bruce Ferguson, whose term is ending.

Helen Clark and Phil Goff also announced the appointment of Major General Lou Gardiner as Chief of Army, and Air Commodore Graham Lintott as Chief of Air Force, at the rank of Air Vice Marshal, to take over from Air Vice Marshal John Hamilton.

Rear Admiral David Ledson has had his term as Chief of Navy extended to 30 April 2009, to bring the appointment into line with the other senior roles.

Helen Clark congratulated all the appointees on their new positions.

“Major General Mateparae has had a distinguished career and will serve New Zealand well as chief of the New Zealand Defence Force. I also congratulate Major General Gardiner and Air Commodore Lintott on their appointments.

"I'd also like to thank Air Marshal Ferguson and Air Vice Marshal Hamilton for the outstanding service they have given to the Defence Force over many years."

Phil Goff said the new Chief of Defence will be responsible for maintaining the current high standards of operational performance while at the same time managing and driving ahead the Defence Sustainability Initiative.

“He will continue towards the vision initiated by Air Marshal Ferguson of the Defence Force as being 'Three Services, One Force'."

Phil Goff said the State Services Commissioner was instructed by the government to manage the recruitment process to ensure a merit-based and professional process.

Major Gen Mateparae, 51, joined the Army in June 1972. He graduated from the Officer Cadet School at Portsea, Australia, in December 1976, and subsequently commanded at platoon, company and battalion level, and served with the SAS.

He became the Army’s Land Commander in December 1999, and was named Chief of Army in February 2002.

Major Gen Mataparae commanded the combined-force Truce Monitoring Group on Bougainville in 1998, and was Joint Commander for New Zealand Forces in East Timor from December 1999 to July 2001. He also had a one-year tour of duty as Chief Oberver with the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organisation in Southern Lebanon from May 1994.

Rear Admiral Ledson, 55, joined the Navy as a cadet midshipman in January 1967, and underwent initial training at the Royal Australian Naval College.

He did his sea training on the HMNZS Taranaki, and also served on the Otago and the Waikato, the command of which he was given in October 1989.

In July 1992 he was appointed as Chief of Naval Development, and was posted to the US Navy War College from July 1994 to June 1995. He was appointed Deputy Chief of Naval Staff in April 2000, and then Maritime Component Commander in July 2001. He was promoted to Rear Admiral in April 2004 and assumed the position of Chief of Navy.

Major General Lou Gardiner, 53, joined the Army in January 1971 and did his officer training in Duntroon, Australia.

In April 1994 he was posted to the United Nations Operation Somalia as the Deputy Chief Logistics Officer on the Force Headquarters.

In December 1998 he became Deputy Chief of General Staff, with the rank of Brigadier. He was named Land Commander in January 1999, and in 2000 was deployed to East Timor for 12 months as the Chief Military Observer to the United Nations Transitional Authority. In July 2001 he was made Project Officer at Defence Force Headquarters. He was posted as Head New Zealand Defence Staff, Canberra, in December 2001 and named Commander Joint Forces in November 2004.

Air Commodore Lintott, 50, joined the Air Force in 1973. In November 1985 he was posted to the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai as Flight Commander of the ANZAC Rotary Wing Unit. He commanded the New Zealand contingent from February 1986.

In May 1986 he took command of 141 Flight in Singapore. He was commander at Ohakea from November 1998 until November 2000, and then Air Component Commander at Joint Force Headquarters in February 2002. He became Joint Forces Commander in September 2004 and was appointed Assistant Chief Strategic Commitments and Intelligence, Defence Force Headquarters, in November 2004.


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