• Max Bradford

Mr Titter, Defence Secretary Gerald Hensley, Ladies and Gentlemen... In a perfect world no country would need to spend money on defence. But our world is far from that. It continues to be riven by war, by the continuing human impulse to aggression, by the propensity of nations to advance their interests by force, and escalating strategic uncertainty.

New Zealand spends $1.6 billion a year on defence - a modest figure in comparison with many other countries - and a necessary insurance policy, given our uncertain world. We do it not just to protect ourselves against the unlikely event of an invasion, but to help secure a stable world in which we, and our neighbours, can trade, invest and go about our other affairs in peace.

And so our defence forces work with those of our friends to ensure that the Asia-Pacific region - our own "backyard" - remains peaceful and stable. As a good international citizen we contribute forces to UN operations to maintain peace in hot spots around the world. We maintain forces to deal with low-level threats to our security - illegal poaching, terrorism and the like. We use defence forces for domestic emergencies such as the recent floods and droughts, as well as for search and rescue.

But the equipment we need to achieve all of these things - ships, aircraft, armoured vehicles and the like - is expensive. The good news is that the cost of purchasing defence equipment is being offset by the development a small but growing New Zealand defence industry.

Our industry is providing design, software and components for much of this new equipment, and giving us the ability to maintain it through all of its operational life. Upward of 60 percent of the cost of military equipment is in this through-life-support, and New Zealand industry is developing the skills to keep much more of that spending at home. It's achieving the same with the larger projects: an average 16 percent of each of the ships in the Anzac frigate project, for example, is New Zealand-made.

It is the Anzac project that got our fledgling defence industry on its feet in the 1990s. The public expected the frigates to generate jobs. They have. About 11 million man hours of work for New Zealanders. But the added benefit of the project is the management skills it has developed in the New Zealand companies that have won work from it.

Many New Zealand companies can compete in the world defence market - a difficult and exacting market. These companies now have credibility. They have quality. They understand and manage the mountains of paper essential to making and monitoring the systems and equipment in a modern fighting ship.

The figures tell the story, and it's a good one. Last year New Zealand exported almost $96 million worth of defence goods and services. The Anzac ships account for about half of this. The rest comes from aircraft overhaul, clothing manufacture, software development, electrical and mechanical products, navigation equipment and training systems. Nothing, you may note, that goes bang!

I am delighted then that DICNZ is to recognise the outstanding achievements of selected defence industry exporters here tonight. On the committee's behalf, I now have much pleasure in presenting these awards for outstanding performance in the field.

Present awards......

And the winning companies are:

A & G Price is an Engineering Company with a history dating to the discovery of gold in the Coromandel in 1869. The company receives a DEFENCE INDUSTRY COMMITTEE AWARD OF EXCELLENCE for the quality and timeliness of its work on the Anzac Ship Project.

Frigate work has included:

The manufacture assembly and testing of deck machinery; manufacture and testing of radar cooling pallets and of the Ships Stabilisers; and the manufacture of main engine heat exchangers and of aluminium deck pallets.

Would Mr John Hillery of A & G Price please come and receive his company's Award.

Mace Engineering is a general engineering Company which has built an enviable reputation for the manufacturing of large machinery and machined components for over fifty years. Mace Engineering receive their Award for the design and manufacture of the unique hanger crane for the Anzac Ship Project, and for the quality of the other products and components also supplied for the frigates.

These include:

The hangar crane, designed and built to very tight space limitations and high shock loads; the positive displacement pumps, again a Mace design; complex components for the Ships propulsion system; and gear-box casing and parts.

I ask Mr Allan Wilkinson to receive the Award for Mace Engineering.

Safe Air Ltd, based alongside the RNZAF at Woodbourne, has had a long association with Defence in a wide variety of work areas mainly in aviation support.

The Company receives a DEFENCE INDUSTRY COMMITTEE AWARD OF EXCELLENCE for the high quality of its ongoing service and support of Defence in the following areas:

The Maritime Helicopter Project. Here, Safe are supplying the Contractor, Kaman, with design support, and manufacturing capability, and will provide support to the helicopters being purchased for the Royal New Zealand Navy and the Royal Australian Navy...

The support of Royal New Zealand Air Force through the maintenance of propellers for the C130 and P3 aircraft, and by maintaining a range of other aircraft and equipment items...

For its successful work on Anzac Ship contracts including the manufacture of non structural bulkheads, doors and joiners; the manufacture and fit-out of a range of ships containers and control consoles.

Would Mr Des Ashton please accept the Award for Safe Air.