Middle East, Africa deployments extended

The Government has approved two-year extensions for four New Zealand Defence Force deployments to the Middle East and Africa, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today.

“These deployments are long-standing New Zealand commitments, which reflect our ongoing interest in promoting peace and stability, and making active contributions to the maintenance of the international rules-based system,” Ms Collins says.

New Zealand’s peacekeeping commitments have all been extended until September 2026. These include the three-person commitment to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, the 28-person contingent to the Multinational Force and Observers in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, and the eight-person contribution to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation in the Middle East.

“Security and stability challenges in the Middle East and Africa can have a far-reaching impact, including on the security and prosperity of New Zealand. This is why New Zealand contributes to peacekeeping deployments to maintain stability and promote peace in the Middle East and in Africa,” Mr Peters says.

New Zealand’s long-standing commitments to Middle East maritime security efforts, including the Combined Maritime Forces in Bahrain, will continue for a further two years until June 2026. 

“This reflects the importance New Zealand places on freedom of navigation and the safety of sea trading lanes. Events impacting the free flow of trade through this region can rapidly have flow on effects for New Zealand,” Ms Collins says. 

New Zealand will undertake a six-month rotation commanding the Combined Maritime Force’s Combined Task Force 150 in early 2025. This task force is responsible for coordinating multinational activities to counter smuggling, piracy and terrorism in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden. This Command Team will be supported by the deployment of an Anzac-class frigate for a two-month period. 

A mine countermeasure task unit will also be deployed to United States Naval Forces Central Command for six months some time between May 2025 and June 2026, to work alongside partners to promote open sea lines of communication. 

“These deployments provide significant opportunities for the New Zealand Defence Force to develop and test skills and capabilities that are vital for protecting New Zealand’s interests,” Ms Collins says.

Note to Editors: About the missions

  • New Zealand has contributed to the United Nation Mission in South Sudan since 2011. This mission plays an important role in the protection of civilians in one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises zones.  
  • New Zealand has contributed to the Multinational Force and Observers mission, based in the Sinai Peninsula, to monitor the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty since its establishment in 1982. 
  • The United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation was established in 1948, and is the UN’s longest standing mission.  This mission has troops in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Syria including in the Golan Heights. The mission acts as a neutral arbiter in the highly-contested border regions between Israel and its Arab neighbours.  New Zealand’s contribution to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation is our longest-running (since 1954), and our single largest contribution to United Nations peacekeeping.  
  • New Zealand has contributed to Middle East maritime security efforts since the 1990s, and to the Combined Maritime Forces since 2013. The Combined Maritime Forces is a multinational maritime partnership, which exists to uphold the international rules-based system by countering illicit non-state actors on the high seas and promoting security, stability and prosperity across approximately 8.2 million square kilometres of international waters, including some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. This deployment is distinct from New Zealand’s contribution to the US-led coalition undertaking strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen and the Red Sea.