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Australia: New Zealand Defence Acquisitions

MEDIA RELEASE

The Hon. John Moore, MP Minister for Defence

Wednesday, 23 August 2000 MIN231/00

New Zealand Defence Acquisitions

The Minister for Defence, John Moore, today welcomed a number of decisions taken by the New Zealand Government to modernise that country's Defence Force (NZDF).

It is the first set of defence capital equipment outlays to be announced by the New Zealand Labour Government.

Projects to acquire modern armoured personnel carriers and tactical radios for the Army have been approved.

However, Project SIRIUS, a proposed update to the systems aboard RNZAF Orion aircraft, has been cancelled. "We understand the priorities assigned by the Government of New Zealand to upgrading the capabilities of its army. Today's announcement represents a considerable investment of around (NZD) three-quarters-of-a-billion dollars," Mr Moore said.

"The Australian Government appreciates that the decision to assign funds to the acquisition of Army armoured vehicles and radios will boost the combat capabilities and field support capabilities of their units.

"We are disappointed, though, by the New Zealand Government's decision to cancel Project SIRIUS," said Mr Moore. "Australian studies of the project assessed it as good value for New Zealand. Had the project gone ahead in full, the modifications would have greatly increased interoperability with Australian forces.

"The upgrade also would have enabled New Zealand to fully monitor its sovereign waters, and it would have offered some lifetime savings for both countries from commonality of supply, training and software support."

The Minister said the Australian Government hoped that Project SIRIUS would be reconsidered in the future.

"Australia's strategic partnership with New Zealand remains the closest of any we have in the region, and we will continue to work closely with New Zealand to promote regional peace, stability and security," Mr Moore said.

ENDS




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