Cablegate: Bgen Toolan (Osd) Visit to New Zealand

DE RUEHWL #0658/01 2472303
P 042303Z SEP 07






E.O. 12958 : DECL: 08/24/2014

Classified By: DCM David Keegan; Reason 1.4 (A, B and D)

1. (C) Summary. Brigadier General John Toolan's visit
marked the highest level OSD visit to New Zealand in
years. The General met with the leadership of the
New Zealand Defense Force and Ministry of Defense,
including Chief of Defense Force (CDF) LTGEN Jerry
Mateparae, Secretary of Defense John McKinnon, and
Chief of Navy, RADM David Ledson. He met with other
senior MoD personnel,GNZ intelligence and police
officials, and discussed the range of bilateral
security and intelligence sharing activities. BGen
Toolan met with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAT)
and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF)
regarding aircraft sovereignty issues, which have now
been resolved. MOD officials outlined the challenges
facing New Zealand's military in the coming decade,
GNZ concerns surrounding instability in the Pacific
and long-term demand on New Zealand security forces,
a fear of ungovernable spaces in the region and the
ill effects of China-Taiwan competitive diplomacy in
the Pacific Island arena. GNZ interlocuters were
unanimous in their support for greater USG/GNZ synergy
on security issues and applauded the improving
bilateral relationship. End Summary.

Toolan Discusses Full Range of Defense Issues with GNZ
--------------------------------------------- ---------

2. (C) Brigadier General John Toolan, Principal Director
of OSD's Office of South and Southeast Asia in Asian and
Pacific Security Affairs, visited Wellington on 10 August
and Auckland on 11 August. After an Embassy country team
briefing, the General attended a Defense roundtable
discussion chaired by Deputy Secretary of Defense Chris Seed
and Vice CDF Air Vice-Marshal David Bamfield. Discussions
included New Zealand's military modernization programs in
the 2009-2010 timeframe (after the 2008 national elections);
New Zealand's possible uses for its new multi-role vessel
and two off-shore patrol vessels; disaster relief
using the Pacific Island Forum as a vehicle; and security
discussions surrounding several key South Pacific islands,
including Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, and Tonga.

3. (C) Seed explained that the New Zealand military has
reconfigured and realigned itself to allow for greater
commitment to areas of risk and instability, due to New
Zealand's recognition of its regional and global
obligations. Seed said that the policy decisions largely were
borne out of New Zealand's need to extend its sovereignty
and protect its interests with respect to the large growth in the
flow of illegal immigrants and narcotics in the region, and
the sheer volume of ships moving through the southern
Pacific. In addition, there may be times, such as in the case of
Afghanistan, where New Zealand will contribute to global
security operations outside its normal spere. In response
to Toolan's question regarding sustainability of GNZ
expenditures on the military, Bamfield noted that the MOD is into year
three of its 10-year funding program, and so far the Government is
holding to it. New equipment for the air force is still a
couple years out for delivery; the new Navy is still three
years away. While continued funding is always a concern, a
greater challenge is recruitment and retention of qualified
personnel. Bamfield added that the current reconfiguration
plan will address the present generation of needs but there
will be a different set of needs by 2015, including replacement of
aircraft. In order to plan properly, the GNZ will need to
begin planning in 2009/2010.

4. (C) In addition to personnel and finance issues, MOD
officials noted that pre-2006 assumptions about stability in
the Pacific had proven wrong. Beginning in 2006, the GNZ had
witnessed increased demands on its security services in four
areas: the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Fiji, and Timor Leste.
Both Australia and New Zealand are now grappling with the
responsibility of being the long-term security guarantors in

WELLINGTON 00000658 002 OF 003

multiple islands, which is also stretching resources and
personnel. Chris Seed added that the political instability
of the last two years had also reinforced the need to plan
for evacuation of personnel, as well as to respond effectively to
natural disasters. Seed mentioned that the GNZ and the
Australian government are working on a model evacuation plan for the
Fiji islands; Toolan responded that PACOM has evacuation plans for
Fiji and other areas he said that such plans should be
shared. Seed welcomed the idea, and said that once New Zealand and
Australia are finished comparing notes, they should jointly
approach PACOM.

5. (C) Both Seed and MOD Director for International
Relations Wayne Higgins flagged GNZ concern over the Pacific
Island militaries. Higgins offered that in his view, current
Tongan Defense Service expansion plans are unrealistic and
the role of the military in domestic security matters seems
inappropriate to New Zealand. David Bamfield added that
whenever the GNZ raises concerns regarding Pacific Island military
forces with the respective governments, they inevitably raise China
or Taiwan as alternative supporters. Toolan responded that the
USG had put Taiwan on notice, and had urged them to play a more
responsible role in conducting diplomacy in the Pacific
region. Chris Seed suggested that such issues might be usefully
discussed in greater depth at the March 2008 Quadrilateral meeting
between the U.S., NZ, Australia, and France.

Intelligence Sharing Relationship Lauded

6. (C) General Toolan had a working lunch with
representatives from NZ Security Intelligence Service, External
Assessments Bureau, Government Communications Security Bureau and NZ
Police, as well as Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism Dell Higgie and
other Defense Ministry and U.S. Mission personnel. Ambassador Higgie
explained that her office manages a gamut of programs to address
terrorism, including the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and
export controls, as well as non-traditional security-related
programs designed to discourage extremism. Each bureau then recapped
their respective intelligence relationship with U.S. counterparts.
Both sides agreed to continue moving the positive
intelligence-sharing relationship forward, especially in the South
Pacific island-nation region.

7. (C) The General attended a meeting with MFAT and MAF to
specifically discuss the sovereignty of aircraft issue.
(Comment: NZ agricultural inspectors have, for years, been granted
permission by U.S. aircrews to board arriving international military
aircraft to spray insecticide and perform a cursory inspection in
contravention of long-standing U.S. assertion of sovereign immunity.
The U.S. Foreign Clearance Guide was clarified several months ago,
reiterating U.S. sovereign immunity policy instructing U.S. aircrews to
not permit New Zealand inspections of U.S. state aircraft. With
the upcoming Antarctic season looming, this issue had the
potential for flight delays until a resolution could be found. End
Comment.) In response to USG concerns, MAF proposed a work-around
procedure whereby the spray bottles would be given to an American and
that person would do the spraying at the direction of the MAF
official. The General thanked MAF for their flexibility in
developing this proposal. MAF stated that final approval was
still needed by the government but in the interim, their new
procedure would be used. (Comment: While the above procedure
is indeed in effect, we learned since the General's departure
that additional MAF changes in the normal SOPs to the crew and
cargo would apply, but MFAT and the Embassy have resolved
these issues. End Comment.)

8. (C) General Toolan met briefly with Secretary of Defense
John McKinnon. The meeting was very cordial and recapped the
issues already discussed above. The discussion turned to the
upcoming visit to New Zealand by DASD James Clad 30-31
August. Secretary McKinnon has known Mr. Clad for years and was eager
to meet with him to share views regarding the U.S.-NZ

6. (C) Navy Chief Rear Admiral David Ledson met with BGen
Toolan, with discussion centering on two maritime events that

WELLINGTON 00000658 003 OF 003

were currently underway -- the deployment of a NZ medical
team aboard the USS Pelilieu and the deployment of two NZ junior
officers aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Walnut. Both
deployments have ushered in a new era of engagement between
NZ and US and were received very favorably by the Navy Chief.
The Navy Chief discussed the recent Quadrilateral (U.S., NZ,
Australia, and France) Maritime conference held in New
Zealand and the progress made in the area of maritime cooperation
between the four participants. The Admiral discussed the new
vessels purchased under Project Protector and the challenge
the Navy will have operating the new multi-role vessel (MRV).
Admiral Ledson suggested that perhaps a small team of experts
from U.S. Navy amphibious operations could help NZ establish
clear operating procedures and roles for the ship and avoid some
pitfalls U.S. operators have experienced. (Note: In an earlier
conversation with DCM, Ledson emphasized the NZ desire for assistance i
integrating helicopter operations on board the MRV. End
Note.) The Admiral also said that when Endeavour (tanker supply
ship) is decommissioned, the navy may replace her with another MRV
capable of carrying fuel.

9. (C) The General flew to Auckland on August 11 for a tour
of the NZ SAS (Special Forces) facility. The SAS Commanding
Officer gave the General a presentation on past operations and
briefed the General on the recent award presentation to a NZ SAS
soldier for heroism in Afghanistan. The Victoria Cross (equivalent
of U.S. Medal of Honor) was awarded to one of his soldiers, the
first Kiwi to receive this award since WWII. Other discussion
involved the training, increased rotation schedule among military
personnel and quality of the NZSAS. Attrition and high pace of
operations have resulted in NZ unable to commit SAS troops for further
deployments to Afghanistan, but NZ Defense Minister Phil Goff
has not ruled out future deployments. Toolan toured the new
multi-role vessel, HMNZS CANTERBURY at Devonport Naval Base,
and had a productive discussion with Commodore David Anson
over the future of US-NZ defense relations as well as AnsonQ,s
upcoming assignment to Washington as the NZ defense attachQ.

10. (C) Comment: General Toolan's visit was eagerly
anticipated by NZ Defense leaders. His is the highest level OSD visit
in years, to be followed by DASD Clad's visit 30-31 August. At every
level, NZ leaders stressed that they did not want to appear to be
pushing the envelope and were very cautious about probing into
sensitive policy areas. Chris Seed said that his Ministry was under
instructions from the Labour Government to be as transparent
as possible, and characterized their policy as one of no
surprises. All agreed the relationship is in better shape than it was
two years ago, and New Zealand defense officials would welcome further
collaboration on issues of mutual security concern,
particularly with PACOM. The NZ leadership has changed tack on dealing
with the US, and recognized that there it is in our mutual
interest to seek out a better working relationship on common security
issues without focusing on our few areas of disagreement. End

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The Washington Riot And The Georgia Results
Hong Kong and Washington DC. On the same morning, the tyrants in power in Beijing and their counterpart in the White House have shown how they refuse to accept the legitimacy of any different points of view, and the prospect of losing power… More>>

WHO: Vaccination No Guarantee Of Virus Eradication

In the final World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 press conference of the year, on Monday, senior officials warned that the virus is 'not necessarily the big one', and that there is a real chance of another, more serious pandemic spreading ... More>>

Covid: Two Billion COVID Vaccine Doses Secured, WHO Says End Of Pandemic Is In Sight

The end of the pandemic is in sight but we must not let our guard down, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday, as he welcomed the news that the global vaccine partnership COVAX has lined up almost two billion doses of existing ... More>>

UN: Guterres To Seek Second Five-year Term
António Guterres will be seeking a second five-year term as UN Secretary-General, which would begin in January 2022.... More>>

UN Rights Office: Iran Execution Of Child Offender Breaks International Law

The execution of an Iranian man for a crime allegedly committed when he was 16 years old has been condemned by the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) and raised concerns over violations of his right to a fair trial. In a statement released on Thursday, ... More>>

UN News: Fighting Displaces Over 500,000 In Northern Mozambique, Reports UN Refuge Agency

Attacks by armed groups in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Zambezia and Niassa provinces have displaced more than 530,000 people, many of whom have been forced to move multiple times, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Friday. According to ... More>>