Good morning everyone.
I'd like to begin by acknowledging Corallie Eagle, founding owner of Eagle Technology Group, and your son Duane, co-owner and Executive Director; Group CEO Mark Allan; Scott Campbell, Head of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) technology at Eagle; and special guest Martin O’Malley, former Governor of the US state of Maryland and former Mayor of Baltimore.
Thank you for inviting me to this year's ESRI conference – the biggest event on New Zealand’s geospatial calendar in 2017.
Since the open government data movement began in 2008, considerable progress has been made towards getting geographic information, and other types of data, out of the back rooms and into the hands of the innovators and entrepreneurs among us.
Today, Government departments are doing much more with geographic information than simply making it publicly available for re-use.
They’ve been getting creative with their data, joining forces with the private sector to come up with tools and resources to make it useful to New Zealanders.
Whether it’s support for a farmer trying to cut fertiliser or irrigation costs, a developer looking at where to put that next urban project, or a scientist investigating the effects of climate change, tools and resources are available.
The New Zealand Transport Agency is a good example. It’s using smart city technologies around the country to pull together data on traffic volumes and road safety to make transport decisions. That’s geographic information driving future transport decisions – not just to ease congestion on a busy road today, but to help decide whether we’ll need to build a new road tomorrow.
Most of these recent innovations with geographic information are the result of joint efforts. Rather than just going it alone, agencies are now joining forces with others to make data work for Kiwis.
Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry for the Environment recently teamed up on a project to pull together data on things like water and air quality, rainfall statistics, seasonal temperatures and pollution levels. The product was the first ever interactive map giving a complete picture of how the environment has changed in different locations over time.
ESRI software also has a significant presence in my other portfolio, Defence. It is crucial to Defence Force operations, planning and training - most modern command and control systems rely on such software to function effectively.
I recently travelled to Queenstown to launch an app that’s helping authorities fight wilding conifers – an invasive pest tree that poses a threat to our ecosystems. Again, this was a product of a national programme that required collaboration between my department, Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), the Ministry for Primary Industries, the Department of Conservation, regional and district councils, forestry, farming and community groups.
LINZ works with councils and private enterprise up and down the country to gather information about property, the land and even the ocean beds. These partnerships have resulted in all kinds of resources that can be used by anyone – key decision-makers, planners and developers, or techies.
They’ve recently started working with councils and others to make data about the height of regional land features available on the LINZ Data Service. This data can be used by planners and researchers to better understand the impact of natural disasters, such as floods and coastal erosion.
Of course, none of this could have been achieved without strong private/public sector relationships. So, to Eagle, and the other specialists in geospatial software here today, I’d like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the importance of your systems and technical expertise to public agencies.
The examples I’ve shared with you demonstrate the potential of geographic information to transform the physical environments of our towns and cities. But geographic information also has huge potential when it comes to getting better results for communities and solving tricky problems. This is a space with a lot of potential and I’m keen to see more.
The issues that Government are working to address are often complex and span several areas of Government. This is particularly true of social and economic problems.
Again, the formula for success here is agencies such as Ministry of Social Development, Police, Justice and local government coming together to bring their data to life and make a difference for New Zealand.
These are all great ideas and examples of Government doing more with open data. But there are still many more data sets sitting around in public agencies waiting to be released.
All innovation with geographic information – whether private or public – relies on Government continuing to prioritise making their data publicly available.
While some public agencies have good policies for open data, others are still struggling to keep up with the increasing demand for data from a fast-paced and ever-changing digital world.
Early this year I signed off on a proposal to transfer the open data programme to Statistics New Zealand. As world leaders in data analytics, Stats are uniquely qualified to take this work forward, providing agencies with advice and support on how to overcome barriers to releasing their data.
LINZ sets an example by making all its data available via its award-winning LINZ Data Service, LDS. It’s also lending a hand to other public agencies needing help with releasing their data by making the service available under a syndicated contract.
This will be a huge time-saver for government departments who don’t yet have a portal for their data. It means they can pick up the tried and tested platform that supports LDS without having to go through a lengthy procurement and design process. By signing the contract they’ll be able to use the service to publish their own data.
This is a big deal – a major step forward for the public availability of geographic information. It is the first time in New Zealand that a syndicated contract has been applied to a government data portal. I understand it has been a popular move with a lot of interest from LINZ’s colleagues across the public sector.
The LINZ Data Service is a great service. Free of charge and with nearly 30,000 users, it is being used to make all kinds of tools. A few examples that spring to mind are products for monitoring pests that might harm our horticultural industries, planning landscape gardens, and creating map apps.
It’s also used every day by people involved in infrastructural development, such as the planners and developers working to get Kaikoura back on its feet.
They access the data and imagery that LINZ collected shortly after the quake to understand how the land has changed as they repair buildings, roads and other vital infrastructure.
So, looking to the future, I can see a lot more that can be achieved to make geographic information work for New Zealanders.
What’s changed, though, is it’s no longer just a pipe dream or a future state - it’s a reality. Yes, Government has more work to do, and more challenges to overcome. But real progress is being made as agencies and private enterprise team up to get geographic information working for Kiwis.
Thank you, again, for the invitation to attend and thanks for your attention. I’m impressed by the range of presentations and exhibits at this conference and I would have liked to spend a bit more time here, but as the House is sitting I have to go straight back to Wellington.
I wish you the very best for the rest of the conference.
The Government’s planned investment in Defence over the next 15 years represents a huge opportunity for New Zealand companies, says Defence Minister Mark Mitchell.
Mr Mitchell told Defence industry representatives last night that the country needs a Defence Force that is equipped and supported to respond to a rapidly changing strategic environment.
“This requires investment. Over the next 15 years, the Government will invest up to $20 billion in new and upgraded military capability, including replacement of all our major platforms and the regeneration of the Defence estate.
“We have many companies in the Defence sector who are themselves investing and innovating in their areas of expertise. The Government’s investment in Defence promotes growth in the sector, creates jobs and means that the industry will have every chance to build on its achievements.
“While we are not builders of warships or military aircraft, New Zealand companies can support those capabilities with world-class products and systems, and also support them through life,” Mr Mitchell says.
“For every dollar spent on a new capability, four is spent supporting it through life, the bulk of which is spent locally.
“Each year the New Zealand Defence Force spends $600 million on maintenance and repair, training, and other commercial services.
“The Government is committed to ensuring New Zealand companies are given every opportunity to compete for a share of the investment in Defence.
“The products and services New Zealand companies produce are recognised as world-class, and where they can reduce the cost ownership for the Government we need to support them,” Mr Mitchell says.
Parliamentary colleagues, Secretary of Defence Helen Quilter, Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Tim Keating, representatives of industry, Defence personnel and officials, distinguished guests: It is a pleasure to be here this evening, and to see such a good turnout.
I would like to start by thanking Greg Lowe, the Chair of the Defence Industry Advisor Council, and Scott Arrell, the Chair of the Defence Industry Association, for hosting this reception with my office.
This is an important event.
In November last year, the Government launched the Defence Capability Plan.
The Plan detailed investment of up to $20 billion in new and upgraded military capability out to 2030, including the replacement of all our major assets and the regeneration of the Defence Estate.
Tonight it’s appropriate that we acknowledge the good progress we have made together in implementing that Plan.
Since the publication of the Defence White Paper 2016, contracts have been negotiated for military capability worth over $650 million.
A Defence Estate Regeneration Plan worth around $1.7 billion has been approved.
Good progress has also being made on the replacement of our major platforms as signalled in the Defence Capability Plan.
In June, Cabinet approved the strategic case for the Future Air Mobility Capability project, directing officials to come back next year with options to replace our long-serving C-130 air transport fleet.
We are also on track to consider options for replacing the Maritime Patrol Capability currently provided by our equally long-serving P-3 Orion fleet.
For every dollar spent on new capability, four are spent on supporting it.
Each year the Defence Force spends $600 million in New Zealand on maintenance and repair, training support, and other commercial services.
This equates to 9,000 contracts for goods and services, ranging from long-term maintenance and repair contracts to the provision of consultancy services.
The Government’s forecast investment in Defence over the next decade is significant.
It is driven by the need for a Defence Force that is equipped and supported so that it can continue to respond to a rapidly changing strategic environment.
These changes include growing tensions in the Asia-Pacific area, an international terrorist threat, and an immediate neighbourhood that continues to face a range of economic, governance and environmental challenges.
There is also a need to invest in protecting the Defence Force’s networks from increasingly sophisticated cyber threats.
The Government’s investment in defence to meet these challenges also represents a major opportunity for industry.
Many of the small and medium-sized enterprises represented here tonight got their start in defence in the 1990s as part of the Anzac Ship Project.
That project required New Zealand suppliers to lift their performance in line with the stringent quality standards demanded by high-end military capability.
Some suppliers were able to leverage that opportunity to expand into export markets where they have competed successfully for work from the most demanding of clients.
Our comparatively small size means we are not builders of warships or military aircraft, but New Zealand companies can provide those capabilities with world-class products and systems, and can support them through life.
Early engagement is critical to achieving this.
Both the Ministry of Defence and the New Zealand Defence Force have in place new initiatives to engage industry early on their procurement plans.
Early engagement means fewer surprises and better quality solutions. Potential suppliers will know what we want, know what we are willing to pay, and will be given the opportunity to put forward innovative supply solutions.
Early engagement will also provide more opportunities for prime contractors, local suppliers, and Defence’s strategic partners to build relationships early, ensuring the equipment and services we buy today are supported through life.
This is an important point.
While the capabilities of the New Zealand Defence Force are state-of-the-art, our size means we will never have large fleets.
It is critical, therefore, that our capabilities are well supported and that unscheduled maintenance and repair is kept to an absolute minimum – we need our aircraft on the flight line and our ships at sea.
Much of the equipment we will be replacing over the next decade uses yesterday’s science and technology.
In a rapidly changing strategic environment, it is critical that the capabilities we are acquiring now are based on tomorrow’s science.
This requires Defence to reach out to the widest pool of potential innovators in industry, universities, and other research organisations.
It is very pleasing, therefore, to have here tonight representatives from the Defence Technology Agency, Callaghan Innovation, and our universities.
In closing, my first few months as Minister of Defence have been both very busy and rewarding.
Personal highlights include attending the Defeat-ISIS Ministerial meeting in Copenhagen, attendance at the Shangri-La Dialogue, the Five Powers Defence Arrangements Defence Ministers meeting in Singapore, and a counterpart visit to Indonesia.
I have also visited our personnel in Camp Taji, observed P-3 maritime security operations in the Middle East, overnighted on the frigate HMNZS Te Kaha, a visit which included a simulated warfare exercise, and visited a number of the Defence Force’s camps and bases.
These visits have highlighted to me the dedication and professionalism of our servicemen and women, often under very challenging conditions.
I have seen through my engagements the very high regard in which our Defence Force personnel are held by our partners.
The Government is committed to maintaining and expanding this, and a strong partnership with industry is a critical element of achieving that.
I haven’t met you all yet, but I look forward to doing so, if not tonight then at some other time.
Welcome, thank you for coming along and thank you for your attention.
Newly released figures for April to June 2017 show that property transfers involving overseas tax resident buyers and sellers are at the same levels as the previous quarter, says Land Information Minister Mark Mitchell.
Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) has released its latest report on tax residency and property transfers covering April to June 2017.
“This latest report continues to show that three percent of all property transfers involved overseas tax resident buyers. Three percent also involved overseas tax resident sellers – proportions similar to previous quarters,” says Mr Mitchell.
LINZ gathers data on tax residency to help Inland Revenue enforce the tax rules around property. It also adds to the information available about the property market, and for this and the previous report, LINZ has shared data on the level of transfers involving buyers and sellers who have New Zealand citizenship/residency.
“For 82 percent of transfers over April to June 2017, one or more buyers involved were New Zealand citizens or residents. For 16 percent, all the buyers involved represented corporate or business entities, although almost all of these were New Zealand tax residents.
“There were two percent of transfers where none of the buyers involved had New Zealand citizenship or residency, although some were work or student visa holders. These citizenship and residency results for buyers were also the same as the January to March 2017 quarter.”
A Republic of Singapore Air Force flying training exercise hosted by the Royal New Zealand Air Force will take place at the Ohakea Air Force base from 30 August to 25 September, says Defence Minister Mark Mitchell.
Mr Mitchell says the deployment will include six F-16D+ fighter jets, about 110 personnel and associated support equipment. The contingent will be based at Ohakea but will carry out training missions throughout New Zealand, including day and night flying, using New Zealand air weapons ranges, and conducting other training at both high and low altitude.
“Singapore is one of our closest Defence partners. All three Services of the New Zealand Defence Force regularly train and exercise with their Singaporean counterparts, and it will be a pleasure to welcome this group to New Zealand,” Mr Mitchell says.
“Our two countries have an active agreement to explore opportunities for further military co-operation and training and this exercise aligns perfectly with that.”
Mr Mitchell says Singapore has also asked the New Zealand Government to consider accommodating F-15SG fighter jet training at Ohakea long-term.
“At the moment both countries are carrying out a range of studies to enable everyone to make an informed decision on a possible proposal. But we have similar values and it could be a good fit.
“This exercise is timely, in that it will provide valuable data for the process and how basing F15s at Ohakea might work for our Air Force.
“The Government is committed to following a good process and is firmly committed to work closely on this with local communities through their mayors and councils. That engagement has already begun.
“There is a lot of work to be done before the possibility could come to fruition and I look forward to a productive partnership with local government in that work,” Mr Mitchell says.
Defence Minister Mark Mitchell will travel to Sydney tomorrow to meet Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne for the annual Australia New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting.
The Ministers will discuss progress across a range of shared interests, including efforts in support of the global coalition to defeat ISIS, Mr Mitchell says.
“I am looking forward to meeting Minister Payne and sharing views on a number of important issues for us as Defence allies. Australia is New Zealand’s closest partner, and defence and security co-operation is an important benefit of our relationship.
“We will also discuss the shared concerns of our Pacific Island neighbours for maritime security, regional resilience during disasters and events, and our commitment to peace and stability globally.”
I move that the cognate bills, the Courts Matters Bill and the Tribunals Powers and Procedures Legislation Bill, be now read a first time.
I nominate the Justice and Electoral Committee to consider these bills. The two bills are being introduced as cognate bills because they form an integrated package of reform of the courts and tribunals system.
Independent, fair and efficient courts and tribunals are a cornerstone of any healthy democracy. New Zealand has a robust system which serves us well, but we can and should make the system easier to use and ensure that it keeps pace with people’s expectations.
Mr Speaker, the Courts Matters Bill and the Tribunals Powers and Procedures Legislation Bill are the latest in a programme of legislative reform ensuring the legal framework for our justice services enables courts and tribunals to move with the times. This is a process of continuous improvement that is structured around making the system easier for people to understand and to use while upholding the law.
Consistent, transparent and efficient processes in our courts and tribunals that reflect the needs of today are important considerations for people accessing justice services.
These two bills will contribute towards the development of a modern, efficient and effective courts and tribunals system. These bills will:reduce the time it takes to hear and resolve matters and will improve users’ experience of the courts and tribunals system enable greater use of modern technology to further improve efficiency, effectiveness and timeliness simplify and standardise statutory powers and procedures to improve productivity and efficiency; and provide better consumer protection and redress, and greater access to justice.
Mr Speaker, I turn now to the Court Matters Bill. This bill amends 14 acts governing court security, criminal procedure, fines enforcement, and other court processes.
Part One of the Courts Matters Bill amends the Court Security Act to extend the powers of Court Security Officers to deny entry, remove and detain people who possess illegal drugs, or act threateningly or abusively, or commit minor crimes, on court premises. Court Security Officers are currently only authorised to detain people who have committed very serious offences. These increased powers will assist Court Security Officers to provide the safe, secure, and orderly court environment that court users are entitled to.
Part Two of the Courts Matters Bill amends the Criminal Procedure Act to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and timeliness of criminal processes and to address issues that have been identified following the implementation of major criminal procedural reforms in 2013. For example, Category 2 offences with a maximum penalty of community work have been reclassified as Category 1 offences. This recognises that these defendants do not always need to appear in court. Instead, they will be able to plead either guilty or not guilty through a written letter to the court.
Part Three of the Courts Matters Bill amends the Summary Proceedings Act to strengthen the credibility of fines as a sanction and enable more money to be collected sooner. This will include greater use of modern technology to set up time payment arrangements.
Part Three will also simplify the procedures for placing charges on land and forcibly selling land to pay large fines. This will enable the District Court to impose statutory land charges on land owned by defendants who have overdue fines of $5,000 or more and to sell the land of defendants with overdue fines of $50,000 or more. The new simpler processes will enable these tools to be used more often.
Part Four of the Courts Matters Bill amends eleven Acts to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and timeliness of court processes and will also improve users’ experiences. For example, the order of the two judicial inquiries under the Criminal Procedure (Mentally Impaired Persons) Act will be reversed so that victims and other witnesses will not have to attend and give evidence twice.
Part Four also amends the Juries Act. Court staff will be able to communicate with jurors electronically, meaning jurors will receive information more quickly and by a more convenient method.
Part Four will also authorise court registrars to excuse potential jurors who are not confident in their understanding of the English language. This will provide these people with a simpler and quicker process, that doesn’t require the involvement of a judge.
Mr Speaker, I turn now to the Tribunals Powers and Procedures Legislation Bill, which I will refer to as the Tribunals Bill.
The Tribunals Bill will standardise and modernise the powers and procedures of 21 tribunals to improve their productivity, efficiency and timeliness. These tribunals include the Disputes Tribunal and the Tenancy Tribunal, which almost 30,000 New Zealanders accessed in the 2016/17 financial year.
Users of these 21 tribunals will benefit from new standard provisions governing:the summoning of witnesses the awarding of costs when a person has obstructed or unreasonably delayed proceedings; and contempt - so that disruptive people can be removed from a hearing.
Financial thresholds and levels that reflect the needs of today are important considerations for people accessing justice services. The Tribunals Bill will double the monetary limit of the Disputes Tribunal: it will increase from $15,000 to $30,000. This means that more disputes will be able to be resolved by the tribunal, which is a cheaper and faster alternative to a court case.
The Tribunals Bill will also provide better consumer protection and redress. For example, the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal will be able to award compensation of up to $100,000 for financial losses arising from a real estate agent’s “unsatisfactory conduct”. This will also provide a simpler, quicker and cheaper alternative to a court case. In addition, the Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority will be able to discipline “unsatisfactory conduct” as well as “misconduct”. This will promote higher standards and increased confidence in this sector.
Users of other tribunals will also benefit from the Tribunals Bill. For example, the Legal Complaints Review Officer will be given the powers needed to reduce the backlog of cases that has developed. More cases will be able to be dealt with on the papers instead of a hearing having to be held. Meritless complaints will be able to be struck out. This will enable other cases to be resolved sooner.
The Government is also taking this opportunity to disestablish the defunct Birdlings Flat Land Titles Commissioner. The Commissioner completed this work some seventeen years ago.
Finally, Mr Speaker, in conclusion, these two cognate bills will:further modernise court processes standardise the powers and procedures of 21 tribunals to improve their productivity, efficiency and timeliness improve users’ experiences of the courts and tribunals system; and help make people safer in court and tribunal buildings.
I commend these bills to the House.
The ongoing modernisation of New Zealand’s justice system took another step forward today with the introduction into Parliament of two Bills aimed at enhancing the work of courts and tribunals.
The Courts Matters Bill and the Tribunals Powers and Procedures Legislation Bill are the latest in a programme of legislative reform to ensure the legal framework for our justice services enables courts and tribunals to move with the times, Associate Justice Minister Mark Mitchell says.
“New Zealand has a robust justice system which serves us well, but we can and should make the system easier to use and ensure that it keeps pace with people’s expectations,” Mr Mitchell says.
“Consistent, transparent and efficient processes in our courts and tribunals with financial thresholds and levels that reflect the needs of today are important considerations for people accessing justice services. New Zealanders should also expect to feel safe while in a court.”
The new provisions in the Bills include:increasing the financial threshold for the Disputes Tribunal from $15,000 to $30,000 so more disputes can be resolved by the tribunal, which is a cheaper and faster alternative to a court case giving the Real Estate Disciplinary Tribunal power to take stronger action and award compensation of up to $100,000 for financial losses in more cases streamlining processes for lower level offences punishable by community work by allowing defendants to enter a written guilty plea rather than making a physical appearance in court extending the powers of Court Security Officers to deny entry, and to remove and detain troublemakers so that people are safer in court buildings modernising and aligning the powers and procedures of 21 tribunals administered by the Ministry of Justice, making it easier for people to resolve issues. “These Bills build on recent significant reforms to the justice system the Government has initiated including the Criminal Procedure Act, the Judicature Modernisation legislation, and changes to laws dealing with evidence and coroners.
“All these changes share a clear theme of upholding the law while making the system easier for people to understand and to use,” Mr Mitchell says.
KiwiRail and Rail Heritage Trust: Unveiling plaque at Wellington Railway Station in honour of Cpl L W Andrew VC
Family members of Leslie Andrew, KiwiRail Chief Executive Peter Reidy, chairman of the Rail Heritage Trust Murray King, Deputy Chief of Army Brigadier Chris Parsons, Willie Apiata VC: good morning, and good morning to everyone here for this very special occasion.
In an action during the Battle of Passchendaele one hundred years ago today, the Wellington Infantry Battalion section led by former railwayman Corporal Leslie Wilton Andrew, aged just 20, was tasked with destroying an enemy machine-gun post.
He and his men duly completed that task but not before attacking and capturing another post, on his own initiative, and afterwards, with a comrade, advancing further to gather useful information about the German positions before returning to his unit.
In honour of his exceptional courage that day, Leslie Andrew was subsequently awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest military decoration awarded for “valour in the face of the enemy” to members of the Armed Forces of Commonwealth countries.
However, it would be a considerable under-statement to say merely that he showed valour in the face of the enemy. The citation for his award refers to “… most conspicuous bravery … cool daring, initiative and fine leadership, and his magnificent example was a great stimulant to his comrades.”
The VC is a very rare award. Although about 100,000 New Zealanders served overseas in the First World War, only 11 VCs were awarded to men serving in New Zealand forces. Leslie Andrew was one, and the only railwayman to be so honoured. But the then New Zealand Railways made an enormous contribution to the war effort, and I am sure that Leslie Andrew, an outstanding leader of men, would also be taking the lead today in recognising those of his Railways colleagues who served.
Those 100,000 Kiwis who served overseas included over 7,500 permanent and casual employees of New Zealand Railways, and at least 450 of them did not return – almost 40 per cent of its total 1914 workforce, and the greatest loss suffered by any New Zealand employer.
And whilst he was the only railwayman to receive the VC, he was not the only New Zealand Railways man whose bravery in that war was recognised. For example, a dozen officers won the Military Cross, 10 soldiers won the Distinguished Conduct Medal and for a staggering 67 men their courage was recognised by the award of the Military Medal. There were many other awards. The contribution made by New Zealand Railways, in a country of a little over a million people in total, was quite extraordinary, and standing here today in one of our country’s iconic railway stations, we honour that service.
Leslie Andrew’s own contribution to his country did not stop at war’s end in November 1918. It would be 35 years after the display of personal courage which earned him the highest possible recognition that his military career finally came to an honourable end.
After completing officer training in 1918, he was commissioned and went on to serve in many roles through to the beginning of the Second World War, in the early years of which he commanded the 22nd Battalion of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force and received another rare award, the Distinguished Service Order, for his leadership in the North African campaign as a brigade commander. After returning to New Zealand in 1942 he served as Fortress and Area Commander Wellington from 1943 to 1946 and also commanded the New Zealand contingent at the Victory Parade in London in 1946. He retired from the Army as a Brigadier in 1952.
We are here today to pay tribute to Corporal Andrew, or Brigadier Andrew if we wish to recognise his final rank and service in uniform, and amongst us are people representing many of the strands of his life. First and foremost, there are family members. The Deputy Chief of Army, Brigadier Chris Parsons, is here, representing not only the Army but all of the New Zealand Defence Force. KiwiRail Chief Executive Peter Reidy and Dr Murray King, representing the Rail Heritage Trust are here. And New Zealand’s only living VC winner, Willie Apiata, is here.
You each provide a unique connection to a man whose military service to his country spanned many decades and took many forms at many levels. He is a great credit to them all.
The unveiling of this distinctive plaque in a few minutes will be the culmination of a piece of work which is a significant service to us. It means that a man who is not well-known in 2017 is receiving well-earned public recognition of his service and commitment to his country over many decades. And it means that the contribution of New Zealand Railways to New Zealand’s war effort is also being honoured, as it should.
We salute Leslie Andrew VC, and I congratulate all involved in this commemoration.
Defence Minister Mark Mitchell was on hand to welcome the Royal New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Te Kaha back to the Devonport Naval Base in Auckland today, after nearly six months deployed to Australia and Asia.
“The ship has carried out an extensive and varied programme, much of it in company with HMNZS Endeavour on her final major deployment. The programme began with a major maritime exercise in Australia, and included a number of significant port visits. The two ships also took part in the annual Five Power Defence Arrangements Exercise Bersama Shield and Singapore’s International Naval Review,” Mr Mitchell says.
“Te Kaha undertook an additional task at short notice in late June when she was deployed to support the United States Seventh Fleet after the destroyer USS Fitzgerald and a Philippines container ship collided at sea.
“Te Kaha was in the area and when the Government’s offer of support was accepted by the United States she was able to assist with the security and protection of the USS Nimitz carrier group,” Mr Mitchell says.
“Te Kaha and her crew have performed every task to the highest standards. They have represented New Zealand with distinction, and I congratulate Commander Steve Lenik and his crew on a job very well done. Welcome home.”