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Senator Supports Closer NZ/Oz Military Relations

Australian Senator supports NZ Opposition's election move for closer military relations with Australia

Sandy Macdonald
National Party Senator for NSW

ANZAC Co-operation

"The value of closer military co-operation between Australia and New Zealand and the creation of joint ANZAC force elements should again be considered in view of the current NZ Election defence debate," Sandy Macdonald, the Chair of the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, said today.

"The NZ Opposition's commitment to re-instate the RNZAF fast jet fighter capacity should be examined in the context of the number of former RNZAF pilots who have recently joined the RAAF after NZ abandoned its A4 Skyhawk deployment on the South Coast of NSW. Over a number of years, the A4's have been of great assistance to train the Australian Navy in a maritime attack training role.

"Also, the NZ Opposition's decision to reconsider the purchase of a third ANZAC Class frigate (NZ has taken two and not exercised its two possible options) should be assessed in light of a chance to make best use of the naval personnel available from both countries. As defence issues become increasingly technical and expensive, this is an ideal time to consider formal co-operation at a level never envisaged before.

"Some lateral defence thinking is now necessary from both the Australian and NZ defence planners. Already there is a level of co-operation - for instance the combined effort in East Timor shows the long-standing relationship remains strong.

"Australia and New Zealand have a shared geography, a shared military history and a substantially shared view of the world. Let's make the best use of our shared defence dollar as both countries can only benefit."

17 June 2002

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