Hon Ron Mark, Minister of Defence
Minister of Defence Ron Mark will today launch the Advancing Pacific Partnerships 2019 Defence Assessment during a speech at Te Papa.
The Assessment outlines how Defence will partner with our Pacific Island neighbours and invest in Pacific regional security architecture. The Plan aligns with the Coalition Government’s Pacific Reset.
“This is our commitment to partnering with the Pacific and recognises our powerful links to the region,” says Ron Mark.
“Core to our concept of partnership is the assurance that New Zealand’s Defence engagement will be sustainable and focused on Pacific priorities. We will be a reliable, trusted and long-term partner to all our friends in the Pacific.
“Our commitments are backed by actions. We are investing in people-to-people initiatives, we are focused on security issues that matter to the Pacific, and we are enhancing our capabilities to contribute to Pacific security.
“Advancing Pacific Partnerships builds on New Zealand Defence’s longstanding commitment to the Pacific, and the elevation of that commitment through last year’s Strategic Defence Policy Statement. The assessment also aligns with New Zealand’s commitments under the Boe Declaration on Regional Security, agreed by Pacific Leaders in 2018.
“Defence is operationalising Advancing Pacific Partnerships through work on the security implications of climate change, and proactively engaging with regional forums to support Pacific priorities.
“Alongside this, the Coalition Government’s Defence Capability Plan 2019 features a range of investments critical to enhancing our ability to respond in the Pacific, including enhanced sealift, airlift, and maritime domain awareness.
“Our capability investments are at the heart of New Zealand Defence’s ability to be a reliable and responsive partner to Pacific countries, especially in the context of impacts to our region from climate change,” says Ron Mark.
Minister Mark will also announce for the first time the Pacific Leader Development Programme, which features work with Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga, and Vanuatu to create bespoke, country-specific leadership capacity building programmes funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and delivered by the New Zealand Defence Force.
This transformational initiative is delivering now. Defence Force personnel are working with partners to design and implement development frameworks under the programme.
New Zealand will also support the construction of purpose-built leader training centres where desired, in accordance with each partner’s tailoring of the programme to meet their individual needs.
“The Pacific Leader Development Programme highlights the Coalition Government’s commitment to deeper and more ambitious partnerships in the Pacific Islands region,” says Ron Mark.