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Greater Defence Contingency Capability Required

The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee wants increased Defence Force deployment options to deal with overseas contingencies, particularly in the Pacific, but doubts there are sufficient resources to meet present commitments.

The Committee’s final “Defence Beyond 2000” report comments that the Defence Force had plans for emergency evacuations of New Zealanders and other nationals from South Pacific countries in a civil emergency – just as other countries provide New Zealanders with similar cover in more distant parts of the world.

The Committee said the Army was optimised for deployment “but it is unable to get there and be sustained because another service is not equipped to deploy and support it.” The possession of a well-equipped logistic support ship would substantially improve the NZDF’s ability to address contingencies in the South Pacific.

The tanker HMNZS Endeavour had to be used for the Bougainville peace talks and to carry freight because there was no more suitable vessel. The Charles Upham couldn’t operate into Raratonga.The report said over-the-beach capability was required for smaller island countries which could not handle a roll-on, roll-off vessel.

ENDS

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