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Cablegate: Next Round of New Zealand Deployments To

VZCZCXRO6261
PP RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHWL #0769 2951849
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 221849Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4821
INFO RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 5002
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 0040
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHHMUNA/USCINCPAC CAMP H M SMITH HI PRIORITY
RHMFITT/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS

S E C R E T WELLINGTON 000769

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

OSD PASS JESSICA POWERS; PACOM PASS FPA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/21/2032
TAGS: MARR MOPS PREL NZ AF US
SUBJECT: NEXT ROUND OF NEW ZEALAND DEPLOYMENTS TO
AFGHANISTAN -- MAYBE SAS, MAYBE TRAINERS

Classified By: Embassy Wellington DCM David J. Keegan, Reasons E.O. 129
58, 1.4 (a), (b), and (d)

1. (C) DCM recently discussed current mil-mil relations with
New Zealand Ministry of Defence (MOD) CEO John McKinnon.
McKinnon reported that MOD was preparing a submission to a
select Cabinet committee on future deployments to Afghanistan
after the current deployment cycle concludes in September
2008. The report would need to be approved and then signed
off by the full Cabinet no later than early December in order
for the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) to be ready to
deploy or redeploy any forces by the September 2008 time
frame.

2. (C) McKinnon noted that the Government was very conscious
that the New Zealand public continues to express support for
NZDF deployments to Afghanistan. However, the Prime Minister
particularly is quite conscious that there is a mix of
factors contributing to that support, one of which is the
relative dearth of casualties. That factor will weigh in,
though not necessarily determine, the Cabinet's decision.

Victoria Cross & the SAS
------------------------

3. (SBU) The Government was also quite conscious that the
awarding of the Victoria Cross to SAS Corporal Willie Apiata
had drawn a unique and positive public spotlight on the SAS
role in Afghanistan. Even given that Apiata received his
decoration for valor in a very bloody fight, both Apiata's
action and the role of the SAS in Afghanistan had received
near universal public support. A documentary by a local TV
network on the SAS and its training camp has also been viewed
very positively.

4. (S) Any deployment of SAS forces back to Afghanistan would
have to take into account the fact that the force is
under-manned. It is also the most ready of any NZ forces and
therefore would be the first force to be called into any
contingency such as Fiji or an evacuation from Fiji. Having
mentioned Fiji, McKinnon immediately said that he should only
have been speaking of the Pacific Islands in general, but he
left no doubt that Fiji was the first and most pressing
contingency. He suggested that even if SAS forces deployed to
Afghanistan, it might be necessary to consider how and
whether they might be extracted to respond to an island
crisis.

Training the Trainers
---------------------

5. (C) In addition, MOD was evaluating a "train the trainer"
program as one of several other options for a NZDF role in
Afghanistan. It was still too early to assess how this or
other options would eventually be handled in a paper for
Defence Minister Phil Goff to present to Cabinet. One issue
would be logistical and transport support, but it was
difficult to assess at this point how large a factor that
would be.

A-4 Options
-----------

6. (C) MOD is in the preliminary stages of attempting to
flesh out and verify another approach to selling its retired
A-4 attack aircraft. While it is aware that OSD has promised
to inform GNZ as soon as possible on whether its current
sales proposal will be approved, NZ has recently become aware
of another opportunity, which he declined to specify. When
and if that possibility becomes more defined, MOD will brief
OSD in Washington to ensure maximum coordination. McKinnon
made it clear that the factor driving MOD was simple: "the
money would be nice."
KEEGAN

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