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Defence Ministers: commitment To Bilateral Defence Relations

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman
Minister of Defence

Senator the Hon David Johnston
Australian Minister of Defence

18 December 2013

Defence Ministers Reaffirm commitment To Bilateral Defence Relations

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman, New Zealand’s Minister of Defence and his Australian counterpart, Senator David Johnston, met today in Auckland for the annual Australia-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ meeting.

Both Ministers reiterated the importance and mutual benefit of a close bilateral defence partnership. Senator Johnston was pleased to affirm the new Government’s strong commitment to this close bond.

Ministers noted that good progress had been made on enhancing our collaboration in the region, in engaging earlier in our capability development cycles and in sharing our experiences in innovation and reform since the release of the Defence Relationship Framework in 2012. Ministers committed to build on this progress and pursue opportunities for further defence cooperation.

Both Ministers recognise the importance of regular discussions on global, regional and bilateral cooperation and today’s meeting provided the forum to do this.

Shared History

Ministers highlighted the ANZAC legacy and a commitment to work together on the First World War Centenary commemorations and in particular the centenary of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli on 25 April 2015.

Shared perspectives on global and regional security issues

Ministers shared assessments on the full range of global and regional security challenges, including developments in the Middle East. They discussed respective operations in Afghanistan as the current ISAF mission moves into its final year.

Both countries agreed they would continue to collaborate on Pacific security issues, including through the South Pacific Defence Ministers’ Meeting. Dr Coleman welcomed Australia’s commitment to the Pacific Maritime Security Program. Both countries reiterated the importance of working in close partnership with Pacific Island countries.

Senator Johnston thanked Dr Coleman for New Zealand’s support and the use of the HMNZS Canterbury in Australia’s withdrawal from the Solomon Islands.

Further practical cooperation

The Ministers identified several avenues for further practical cooperation. This included:

• discussions on naval cooperation between the countries and further cross-crewing initiatives;
• building on the existing tempo which saw New Zealand and Australia conduct over 700 different activities in Australia, ranging from: Senior Officer visits to exchange posts and exercises, Ministers noted that an Australian policy officer would be seconded to the New Zealand Ministry of Defence in early 2014;
• the NZDF’s participation in Exercise Talisman Sabre in 2015; and
• the continued importance of the Track 1.5 Security Dialogue.

Dr Coleman noted that the Defence Mid-Point Rebalancing Review had been completed and the Government had agreed to a sustainable long term funding approach for the NZDF out to 2030. This approach will enable the NZDF to meet the Government’s expectations of protecting and advancing New Zealand’s interests at home, in the South Pacific and globally.

ENDS

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