Minister To Attend Regional Defence Ministers' Conference

  • Paul East

Security issues in the Asia/Pacific region will be the focus of the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) triennial conference of Defence Ministers which Minister of Defence, Paul East, will attend in Singapore and Malaysia.

Mr East leaves New Zealand tomorrow for the FPDA conference which runs from Sunday 13 April to Tuesday 15 April. He will visit Brunei before the conference starts. This visit recognises the growing relationship between Brunei and New Zealand, particularly the fact that Brunei is New Zealands dialogue partner for ASEAN.

"A number of military officers from Brunei have undertaken training in New Zealand and there is considerable scope to expand our role in this regard," said Mr East.

After the FPDA conference Mr East will meet individually with Singapore and Malaysia's Defence Ministers and other government officials.

The FPDA were established in 1971 and provide the framework for security cooperation in the South East Asia region between New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Singapore. The Defence Ministers meet every three years to review the activities conducted under the Arrangements.

New Zealand has a long standing historical involvement with the collective security and defence of Singapore and Malaysia, and our involvement in the FPDA is a continuation of this trend.

"Singapore and Malaysia recognise the important role that the FPDA plays in enhancing their security and my attendance at this conference will underline the importance New Zealand places on the security of the Asia/Pacific area.

"While in Malaysia, I will be in a position to convey the Governments support for the New Zealand industries who are working with Transfield Defence Systems Ltd of Australia for that companys bid to build the Malaysian Navys new Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV). A number of New Zealand companies are sending their representatives to Malaysia to coincide with my visit. While there, they will promote their companies skills and capabilities to Malaysian defence officials.

"Many of these skills have been built up from their involvement in the ANZAC frigate project and could be passed on to local Malaysian companies who would be involved in the OPV project.

"It will be a considerable boost to the New Zealand companies if Transfield wins the contract and I will be doing everything I can to support them," said Mr East.