Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee and his Australian counterpart the Hon Kevin Andrews met in Auckland today for the annual Australia-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting.
“It has been my great pleasure to host Kevin Andrews today,” Mr Brownlee says.
“In this centenary of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps fighting side-by-side on the battlefield at Gallipoli, the defence relationship remains as important as ever.
“Through its size, location and strategic reach, Australia contributes significantly to New Zealand’s security.”
Mr Andrews noted the long history of collaboration between Australia and New Zealand.
“The relationship has continued from the First World War to recent operations in Timor-Leste, the Solomon Islands and today in Afghanistan, in the Multinational Force and Observers mission in the Sinai, and in the Building Partner Capacity mission in Iraq,” Mr Andrews says.
“Given the current challenging international environment, we are firm in our agreement that the joint Australian and New Zealand contributions to the Building Partner Capacity mission in Iraq are critical for restoring Iraqi military capability and supporting longer term stability in Iraq.
“We highly value New Zealand’s partnership on the BPC mission and we will continue to work closely as we review our respective contributions and mission milestones.”
Minister Andrews welcomed New Zealand’s participation in Exercise Talisman Sabre in July 2015. Minister Brownlee also welcomed upcoming Australian participation in Exercise Southern Katipo in October-November this year.
Minister Brownlee and Minister Andrews shared perspectives on security issues in the Asia-Pacific region, noting joint efforts alongside other regional partners to support the people of Vanuatu following Tropical Cyclone Pam in March showed the close cooperation and seamless integration between our Defence Forces.
Ministers reiterated the defence partnership between our two countries was important for promoting regional security.
“We have shared interests in a more comprehensive and coordinated approach to maritime security in the Pacific, working in close partnership with Pacific Island Countries,” Mr Brownlee says.
Australia and New Zealand intend to complete Defence White Papers in the coming months. This will enable the two countries to explore opportunities to enhance interoperability and to further align strategic and policy approaches to shared global and regional security issues.
During their talks Ministers affirmed the importance and mutual benefit of a close defence partnership. Both countries remain committed to the relationship and look forward to further opportunities to deepen the already close cooperation between our two Defence Forces.
Nick Bryant (Minister Brownlee's Office) 021 245 8272
Chloe Petch (Minister Andrew's Office) +61 477 395 356