Defence Minister, the Hon Kevin Andrews MP, and his New Zealand counterpart, the Hon Gerry Brownlee, met for the first time in Melbourne today.
The meeting occurred as both nations prepare to commemorate a century since the landings at Gallipoli.
“During the Centenary of Anzac, we mark a century of service and sacrifice, encompassing all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations in which Australia and New Zealand have been involved. The Centenary will be the most significant period of commemoration in our nation’s history,” Minister Andrews said.
During the meeting, Ministers affirmed the enduring strength of the existing defence partnership. Both countries expressed a commitment to further opportunities that deepen the close cooperation between the Australian (ADF) and New Zealand Defence Forces (NZDF).
Ministers shared perspectives on security challenges in Iraq, and agreed to continue sharing assessments of the situation and cooperate closely as part of an international response.
Minister Andrews and Minister Brownlee discussed the continued importance of interoperability between the ADF and NZDF, particularly as new capabilities emerge.
“I thank New Zealand for its contribution of a P3-Orion surveillance aircraft in support of the search efforts for flight MH 370. The seamless integration of the aircraft into the operation demonstrated the strength of the relationship between our defence forces,” Minister Andrews said.
“I am pleased the NZDF will fully participate in Exercise Talisman Sabre later this year as a further example of growing cooperation,” Minister Brownlee said, “and we look forward to the ADF participating in New Zealand’s Exercise Southern Katipo.”
Both Ministers agreed that cross-crewing of naval vessels continued to be a valuable method of developing practical cooperation. Minister Brownlee welcomed the contribution of 12 Royal Australian Navy sailors embarked on HMNZS Wellington.
Ministers affirmed Australia and New Zealand would continue to work together to support capacity building across the Pacific including through military training exercises, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and fisheries surveillance.
Imagery will be available through the Defence Image Library: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20150333
Brad Rowswell (Minister Andrews’ Office) (02) 6277 7800 or 0417 917 796
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999