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Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee will tomorrow welcome counterparts to New Zealand for the 2017 South Pacific Defence Ministers’ Meeting, being held in Auckland.

“The South Pacific Defence Ministers Meeting will bring together the highest levels of defence leadership from around our region to address common security challenges, and to improve cooperation and coordination on regional defence issues,” Mr Brownlee says.

“New Zealand is proud to host Ministers, Chiefs of Defence Forces and senior representatives from Member countries for productive discussions on furthering our regional security.

“I am particularly pleased to welcome Fiji as the newest member,” Mr Brownlee says.

Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief will feature on the agenda, alongside peacekeeping developments, women in armed forces and young leaders, and future military exercises that have been reflected in the Povai Endeavour Framework for Cooperation.

“Responding to natural crises is a feature of our ongoing cooperation. Experienced leaders will share observations on improvements we can make together, including lessons from the Kaikoura earthquake response and Tropical Cyclone Winston in 2016.

“As the New Zealand Defence Force gears up to welcome international participations to Exercise Southern Katipo later in 2017, it’s also timely to share experiences around our contributions to peacekeeping,” Mr Brownlee says.

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