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Goff to Queenstown for trans-Tasman defence talks

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Defence

19 May 2006
Media statement

Goff to Queenstown for trans-Tasman defence talks

Defence Minister Phil Goff heads for Queenstown today, where he will host the latest round of annual trans-Tasman defence talks with his Australian counterpart, Dr Brendan Nelson, on Saturday.

The meeting will be the first between Mr Goff, who took became Defence Minister after Labour's re-election last year, and Dr Nelson, who was appointed to the portfolio in January.

"This weekend's meeting will be an excellent opportunity for us to get to know each other and to establish a good working relationship that will help carry forward the close and longstanding relationship that exists between the defence forces of our two countries," Mr Goff said.

"The Closer Defence Relationship (CDR) between New Zealand and Australia will be a key focus of Saturday's talks. We will review the progress made in enhancing CDR since last July's meeting in Australia, and decide on specific areas of cooperation that officials should focus on during the next 12 months.

"Dr Nelson and I will also discuss other areas of mutual interests, such as on-going cooperation in joint operations and training, the inter-operability of the two defence forces, security trends in the wider Asia-Pacific region and how we can work together to enhance security in the Pacific, the global threat of terrorism, and the separate contributions we are making in Afghanistan.

"Of particular concern to both countries is the recent problems in Solomon Islands and the future of the RAMSI mission there, as well as unrest in East Timor where both countries have previously played significant roles in peacekeeping and reconstruction.

"I will also take the opportunity to brief Dr Nelson on the government's $4.6 billion, 10-year Defence Sustainability Initiative funding package, which will significantly rebuild the resources and capabilities of New Zealand's defence forces and personnel," Mr Goff said.

ENDS

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