New bomb disposal capability - greater security
Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Defence
26 May 2008 Media Statement
New bomb disposal capability means greater security for New Zealand
Defence Minister Phil Goff today opened the headquarters of a new and enhanced bomb disposal capability for New Zealand in Trentham Camp, Wellington.
The new capability is funded by $22 million in capital and ongoing operating funding approved by the Government in 2005. It is part of this government’s $4 billion 10-year Long Term Development Plan for Defence.
“The prospect of a terrorist attack in New Zealand using chemical, biological or radiological devices is lower than in many other countries. Yet given the serious consequences of such as attack, we cannot afford to be complacent,” Phil Goff said.
“That is why the establishment of this new capability for the 1st New Zealand Explosive Ordnance Disposal Squadron is in New Zealand’s national interest. This significant financial investment provides a major strengthening of our ability to respond to these types of threats.
“The new capability is operational now and the squadron will build up in size over the next 18 months to more than 72 personnel. Old equipment is being replaced with remote controlled robots, new detection devices and other electronic tools as well as new decontamination equipment and clothing.
“The squadron’s headquarters and training base are in Upper Hutt and three new operational units will be sited close to the CBDs and air and sea ports of the main centres – Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. This will provide much improved response times across the country and greater overall security for New Zealand.
“This capability is also necessary to guarantee a level of protection around our ability to host internationally significant events such as the Rugby World Cup.
“The EOD Squadron has conducted joint exercises with Police, Fire, Airport Security and Customs. A fully coordinated response across all of government is important,” Phil Goff said.
“The enhanced capability builds on the New Zealand Defence Force’s expertise and professionalism – for which it has a long history and gained a well earned reputation, both at home and internationally – in the area of explosive ordnance disposal.
“While the potential risk of chemical, biological or radiological devices creates the most dramatic and frightening scenarios, in fact the greatest probable risk remains in the area of orthodox explosives,” Phil Goff said.