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Territorial Force to take on Peacekeeping

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Defence

17 October 2006

Territorial Force Soldiers to take on Peacekeeping in Solomon Islands

Territorial soldiers will for the first time make up the majority of service personnel being deployed in an international mission, Defence Minister Phil Goff announced today.

"Over the next 12 months, the New Zealand Defence Force commitment to the Regional Assistance Mission in Solomon Islands will consist mainly of territorial force personnel", Mr Goff said.

"The volatility of the situation in the Solomon Islands means that this will be no easy task. The decision to deploy territorial force personnel is an expression of confidence in their commitment, skills and professional competency by both the Defence Force and the Government.

"All New Zealanders, regular and territorials, serving in RAMSI will be trained and equipped to the highest standards.

"Selected TF personnel from South Island based units are currently undergoing pre-deployment training at Burnham Camp, prior to their deployment to Solomon Islands.

"New Zealand's military commitment to the Regional Assistance Mission Solomon Islands (RAMSI) force consists of a platoon group of approximately 40-50 personnel who deploy to Solomon Islands for four month periods.

"The Territorial Force supplements the Regular Force when additional manpower is needed. Utilising TF personnel for these deployments will take pressure off other regular force units of the New Zealand Army during a period of high operational tempo and bring new experience into the TF.

"In recent years, over 520 TF personnel have deployed to operational peacekeeping roles in the Sinai, Bougainville, East Timor, Bosnia, Sudan, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan. They have consistently demonstrated their capability and skills in every deployment", Mr Goff said.

ENDS


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