Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Minister visits Middle East, Afghan deployment

Hon Ron Mark
Minister of Defence

12 February 2018 MEDIA STATEMENT
Minister visits Middle East, Afghan deployments

On his first overseas trip in the job, Defence Minister Ron Mark has completed a round of visits to Defence Force deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the United Arab Emirates.

Mr Mark was accompanied on the trip by Justice Minister Andrew Little and Simon O’Connor MP, chairman of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee. During the visits the group attended top-level meetings and military briefings, saw a variety of NZDF activities at each location and took numerous opportunities to engage with deployed personnel.

"One of my priorities for the Defence portfolio is to increase the levels of cross-party engagement and bipartisanship on Defence and security issues. Ensuring that this visit included as many Parliamentary parties as was possible was important to me particularly given the significant decisions the Government will make in due course on military deployments"

Mr Mark said that the discussions and briefings he had had throughout the trip were highly valuable, and that at every location, New Zealand personnel are essential and well-respected contributors to their missions.

“I am extremely impressed with the skills and commitment to excellence our personnel, and their colleagues from partner nations, are bringing to the vital tasks they are doing.

“It was a great pleasure, to see them training or at work in the field and spend some time with them in camp. They are all doing us proud, and I congratulate them on their professionalism,” he said.

In Iraq, Mr Mark held meetings with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Minister of Defence Erfan al-Hayali and Major General Robert White, the Combined Joint Task Forces Land Component Commander, before travelling to the Taji Military Complex, where the combined New Zealand-Australia Building Partner Capacity training mission is based.

“New Zealand is pleased to be doing our part in supporting Iraq in the fight against the global threat of ISIS,” Mr Mark said.

“Our joint mission with Australia continues to track well: we have now trained over 30,000 Iraqi personnel,” he said.

Bad weather hindered internal travel in Afghanistan but the group held teleconference meetings with senior NATO mission leaders, the 11 Defence Force personnel deployed as mentors and support personnel to the Afghanistan National Army Officer Academy, and met the two NZDF staff who work in the NATO mission headquarters. Planned meetings with the President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, and the Afghan Minister of Defence, Tariq Shah Bahrami, were regrettably unable to take place.

“We continue to be engaged in Afghanistan to play our part in preventing the country from becoming a safe haven for terrorist organisations,” Mr Mark said.

“Our commitment is a training contribution to help the Afghanistan Army take responsibility for Afghanistan’s security, and defend the country and its people against the Taliban and other insurgent groups,” he said.

In the United Arab Emirates, a key Middle East partner for New Zealand, the Minister met with Defence Undersecretary Matar Salem Ali al-Dhaheri. The Ministers shared views on the regional security outlook for the Middle East, and discussed ongoing engagement and co-operation.

New Zealand is currently contributing a P-3 aircraft to maritime security and counter-piracy deployments in the Gulf of Aden, an area through which 23,000 ships pass annually.

“The UAE is an important defence and economic relationship for New Zealand, and a key partner for role in regional stability and protecting trade,” Mr Mark said.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The West’s Role In Arming Khashoggi’s Killers

The cliché about one death being a tragedy and a million deaths only a statistic has been demonstrated in spades by the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Of all the crimes committed over the past decade by the Saudi regime, it has been this revenge killing ordered by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that has finally brought universal condemnation. More>>

ALSO:

.

 
 

MP Reportedly In Mental Health Care: Speaker Of The House Seeks Advice

After unleashing a volley of damaging allegations against his former leader, National's Simon Bridges, and his party, Jami-Lee Ross was reportedly taken into mental health care over the weekend. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Jami-Lee Ross (And The New Hobbit Law)

Clearly, Jami-Lee Ross is not waging a normal form of political warfare, with agreed rules of combat and rational cost/benefit calculations.

This is politics-as-terrorism where everything is being sacrificed by the man in the bomb vest in order to remove Simon Bridges as the leader of the National Party. More>>

ALSO:

Film Industry Working Group:

Three Killed: DOC Supporting Family, Colleagues After Helicopter Crash

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is rallying around family and colleagues of the staff who died in a helicopter crash this morning in Wanaka... The helicopter, with two DOC staff on board, was on its way to undertake tahr control in the Haast area when it crashed. More>>

ALSO:

Political Donations: Greens Call For Tighter Anonymity Rules And Public Funding

“It is clear that those vested interests have a tangible influence on the decision making of political parties. This is a threat to democracy and should change.” More>>

ALSO:

Education Amendment Bill Passes: Urgency Sought For Partnership School Treaty Claim

The claim takes issue with the acts and omissions of the Crown in respect of the closure of Partnership Schools | Kura Hourua. More>>

ALSO:

Salvation Army Paper: Call For Public Housing Investment

To meet these future demands the report suggests the government needs to look beyond the private rental market and begin to invest heavily into home-ownership programmes and more public and social housing. More>>

ALSO:

Cull: Himalayan Tahr Control Operation Proceeding

“The target of controlling 10,000 Himalayan tahr over the next eight months remains. The revised plan provides for a staged control operation with increased reporting to the Tahr Liaison Group...” More>>

ALSO:

Health: Petitions To Fund Breast Cancer Drugs

Women marching to Parliament today, to present two petitions calling for Government funding of vital medicines, have 100% support from a coalition representing than 30 breast cancer organisations. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels