Cablegate: New Zealand and Us Mil-to-Mil Cooperation

DE RUEHWL #0866/01 3530029
P 190029Z DEC 07





E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/06/2017

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Classified By: Pol/Econ Counselor Margaret McKean; Reason 1,4 (b) and (

1. (C) Summary. During a December 4-5 visit to New
Zealand, OSD New Zealand Director Jessica Powers and PACOM
New Zealand Desk Officer Rick Bairett reviewed US-NZ military
cooperation, discussed the implementation of a new
notification policy covering eight areas of mil-to-mil
engagement, and Powers updated MOD officials on the status of
the GNZ pending request to sell its inventory of A-4 planes.
Both Air Vice Marshal David Bamfield and MOD Secretary John
McKinnon underscored the importance the GNZ attaches to the
successful resolution of the A-4 sale. Powers pressed GNZ
officials on further commitments to Afghanistan; she allowed
that DOD would work with the GNZ on addressing logistics
concerns surrounding a renewed SAS deployment to Afghanistan.
USG and GNZ officials discussed future activities for
engagement and cooperation, and agreed to work closely to
enhance cooperation within the region (through the ARF). New
Zealand officials noted their efforts to encourage other
countries to expand contributions in Afghanistan. End

A-4 Sale of Major Concern to GNZ

2. (C) In her opening call on Ministry of Defense Secretary
John McKinnon, OSD Director Jessica Powers explained that her
visit to New Zealand had two objectives: clarify the status
of the A-4 sale and review the USG decision to move eight
categories of military cooperation to a notification process
within DOD to expedite planning facilitation. Powers
introduced Major Rick Bairett from PACOM, and encouraged GNZ
interlocutors to reach out to PACOM if there are questions
surrounding GNZ participation in upcoming activities. Sec
McKinnon welcomed the USG visitors and the opportunity to
discuss the relationship in broad terms, noting that the GNZ
owes the U.S. a response to the US decision regarding the
notification process. The new arrangements, McKinnon
continued, have been expected for some time and MOD is
pleased that it's happened. He advised that both Minister of
Defense Phil Goff and Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston
Peters had both signed off on the document; PM Clark has been
traveling for three weeks and simply has not yet had an
opportunity to review the new procedures and draft press
language. Minister Goff briefly referred to the policy
during a recent trip to Canada.

3. (C) In moving to the pending A-4 sale, Powers prefaced
her remarks by noting the issue is complex in that it
involves a DOD Inspector General investigation; nothing that
OSD does in terms of following up on the progress of the
proposed sale can be perceived as interfering in the legal
process. Powers related that she is aware the GNZ is
considering another buyer of the planes; the State Department
will consider the sale as long as the company in question has
a USG contract. She noted that the proposed buyer is only
one dimension of the sale; there is also the issue of DOD
responsibility and potential liability for such planes, and
this factor also has a bearing on the delay.

4. (C) McKinnon thanked Powers for the update and offered
that Minister Goff is getting "quite agitated" about the A-4
issue. The GNZ appreciates the legal aspect of the ongoing
application, said McKinnon, and opined that another buyer
would probably be the preferred option for moving this issue
forward. The Secretary emphasized that if another suitable
company can be identified, the GNZ would appreciate
expeditious processing of the request. Powers urged that the
NZ Embassy in Washington work closely with OSD/DSCA on the
A-4 issue.

Afghanistan: NZ to Stay "as Long as Necessary"
--------------------------------------------- --

5. (C) On Afghanistan, McKinnon said that Ministers had
recently agreed that New Zealand would continue its

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participation for another year. The one-year review is only
a function the GNZ's internal administration process, said
the DepSec, and he opined that New Zealand would continue its
deployment "as long as it's necessary to do so." A Canadian
independent panel recently visited the New Zealand PRT in
Bamiyan, and Paul Sinclair said that GNZ officials stressed
the importance of the Canadian contribution to Afghanistan
and the need for the international community to stay the
course in Afghanistan. McKinnon observed that Bamiyan has
become synonymous with New Zealand, adding that the New
Zealand government will review in early 2008 the whole
spectrum of NZ assistance in Afghanistan as well as the
prospect of a presence in Kabul.

6. (C) McKinnon noted that the number of security incidents
in Bamiyan has risen recently, and that is a concern. What
is not clear, he continued, is whether the problem stems from
political or criminal problems; the GNZ has deployed
personnel to assess the situation and make recommendations.
Powers responded that continued New Zealand PRT assistance in
Afghanistan is of great importance, and that the USG would
welcome the return of the New Zealand Special Forces (SAS).
She said that if the GNZ were to consider a redeployment to
Afghanistan, the USG would prefer that the SAS conduct
special operations rather than perimeter security for the
Bamiyan PRT. The USG is cognizant of GNZ transportation
concerns and competing demands for New Zealand Defense Forces
in the south Pacific. She urged the MOD to identify
constraints and work with the USG to resolve issues
surrounding the SAS. McKinnon took the message on board, but
noted that the decision rests with the Prime Minister.

7. (C) Powers asked if there were other military resources
that might be considered -- trainers or Operational and
Military Liaison Teams (OMLTs). McKinnon responded that the
trainer issue was under consideration with particular
attention to the availability of the relevant personnel. New
Zealand was also looking at police training. Powers
suggested that New Zealand, in considering options beyond the
Bamiyan PRT, look at the OMLTs, which interface between ISAF
and the ANA in providing both training and operational
support. Paul Sinclair said that the OMLT issue has been
examined by GNZ officials, but has not been put forward to
Ministers for a decision. McKinnon offered that the GNZ will
review its Afghanistan contribution in the first half of
2008, looking at what others are doing and how New Zealand
might mix in with other elements. Powers asked if the GNZ
were planning to send an assessment team to Afghanistan, but
McKinnon said there were no plans at present. Powers
suggested that if a team were to go out, it would be useful
for the team to stop at CENTCOM and in Washington. She also
urged New Zealand to get the Singaporeans to do more in
Afghanistan. Paul Sinclair said that Singapore is
considering a GNZ request to place medical personnel in a
Dutch-run hospital in Uruzgan province. In addition, New
Zealand has approached Japan about the possibility of
contributing to the Bamiyan PRT with engineers and medics.
Powers was aware of the request to Japan, noting that the USG
has encouraged Japan to do what it can.

Improved US-NZ Mil-to-Mil Cooperation

8. (C) In a broader meeting at the Ministry of Defense
chaired by Director for International Defense Relations Paul
Sinclair, Powers and Bairett met with Director of Defense
Intelligence Kevin Arledge, MFAT Division of the Americas
Senior Policy Officer Justin Fepuleai, Director of Strategic
Commitments Ian Gore, Director of Defense Policy and Planning
Wayne Higgins, Warren Whiting (his replacement) and MFAT's
Security and Disarmament Division's Rick Prendergast. Paul
Sinclair praised the increased tempo of bilateral visits and
mil-to-mil interaction over the past year, and welcomed the
recent USG notification policy decision for the eight areas
of engagement. Powers and Bairett discussed various upcoming
operations with officials, including a possible Te Mata long
distance training linkup while the ship is en route to the

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Mideast, a Proliferation Security Initiative exercise (Maru
in September 2008) in which PAC Fleet and the US Coast Guard
will participate depending on how much of the exercise will
be in port or in international waters. Ian Gore said that
the detail of the exercise will be worked out during the
Operational Experts Groups (OEG) meeting in London in early

9. (C) Activities in Dili involving US and NZ forces may
also fall within the eight categories, and both sides agreed
that there could be opportunities there. Bairett offered
that Australia has asked PACOM to do more in Dili; the U.S.
will be deploying Marines to Timor Leste next year. Powers
and Bairett agreed that PACOM would keep New Zealand in the
loop on military planning for exercises and training in Dili.
Paul Sinclair said that the New Zealand police in Dili spend
the majority of their time mentoring other members of the
international UN police contingent, as opposed to working
with the Timor police. The UN, continued Sinclair, has
recommended that the New Zealand defense forces liaise with
the Timor police but New Zealand does not believe military
should do police work. Just as in Afghanistan, there is a
weakness in the international police development efforts in
Dili, agreed USG and GNZ officials.

10. (C) Powers noted that before the recent USG policy
decision, operators on the US side often assumed the answer
regarding joint mil-mil activities with New Zealand would be
negative, and therefore they would not pursue permission;
others would wait until the last minute to propose
activities. Now OSD and PACOM need to ensure the questions
are asked early and that communication with GNZ operators is
encouraged; Powers said that the USG would welcome feedback
from the GNZ as to how the new policy is working. Major
Bairett noted that Admiral Keating had wanted a PACOM
official to visit New Zealand as Rear Admiral Ledson will be
exploring a possible PAC Fleet visit to New Zealand in April
2008. Paul Sinclair requested that the instructions provided
by OSD to US commands be given to the New Zealand Ministry of
Defense so that parallel instructions are handed down to New
Zealand counterparts. Powers agreed to explore the
possibility. Bairett and Sinclair discussed the need to
arrive at a common definition of third-party hosted
operations, as it is not always clear as to sponsorship.
Paul Sinclair raised the issue of a NZ liaison officer at
PACOM, as had been proposed by New Zealand during the
previous visits of Brigadier General Toolan and DASD Clad.
Powers noted that the U.S. owes New Zealand a response on
this issue. She suggested that given New Zealand's current
list of activities for 2008, it may be worth sending a GNZ
official to PACOM every six months for a discussion on
opportunities for greater collaboration. Regular PACOM
contact through Rick Bairett is another area for enhancing
PACOM-New Zealand coordination and dialogue.

11. (C) Bairett said that the USG would like to see the ARF
do more, particularly on maritime security. He added that
the US does not have to be in the lead all the time and would
welcome other partners pushing the ARF to assume greater
ownership of this issue. New Zealand officials agreed,
noting that the GNZ is like minded and would like to see more
defense dialogue within the ARF.


12. (C) GNZ officials were very appreciative of the visit
by Jessica Powers and Rick Bairett, particularly the update
on the status of the A-4 sale, which is increasingly of
concern to senior GNZ officials and a potential bilateral
irritant. Representatives of the various MOD offices
welcomed the opportunity to discuss the recent USG policy
shift from an operator/technical level, and the impact on
scheduled and planned activities over the next year. Both US
and NZ officials agreed that with the change in USG policy,
improved lines of communication are necessary as the
bilateral mil-to-mil relationship has shifted accordingly.

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To that end, GNZ officials were pleased to meet Major Bairett
and discuss enhanced NZ-PACOM coordination. End Comment.

13. (U) OSD Director Powers has cleared this message.

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