Thursday, February 04, 2010

New Zealand and Papua New Guinea political and defence links

Political relationship

Diplomatic links between New Zealand and Papua New Guinea were formally established soon after PNG achieved independence in 1975, building on official NZ representation in the country before that.

The relationship now includes regular political-level consultations, a large development assistance programme, defence co-operation activities and a network of commercial and business linkages.

Up to two and a half thousand New Zealanders are estimated to live and work in PNG.

New Zealand and PNG are close partners at both the regional and bilateral levels.

We share common views on a range of international issues and co-operate actively in the many multilateral and regional bodies in which we are both members.

New Zealand played a pivotal role in establishing the “Friends of PNG” group, which was instrumental in offering international support to the country during its financial crisis in mid-1999.

In trade, PNG is New Zealand’s second largest market in the Pacific region (behind Fiji, not including Australia).


High-level visits

There are regular high level visits between the two countries.

Amongst other contacts, in recent years Foreign Ministers from both countries have met regularly to discuss regional and international issues of interest, and to promote developments in the bilateral relationship.

New Zealand Prime Minister Hon John Key’s first bilateral engagement was with Rt Hon Sir Michael Somare en route to the 2008 APEC meeting in Lima.

There have been several bilateral engagements between Foreign Ministers Hon Samuel Abal and New Zealand’s Hon Murray McCully.

Prime Minister Key and Foreign Minister McCully also visited Port Moresby in January 2009.

New Zealand Governor-General Hon Sir Anand Satyanand visited PNG in October 2009 for five days – taking in Goroka and Rabaul as well as Port Moresby.

 PNG Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane visited New Zealand in February 2006, and PNG Trade Minister Hon Paul Tiensten visited in June 2006, both as guests of our government.

Dame Carol Kidu, Minister for Community Development visited as a partial guest of government in November 2008.


Defence relationship

Defence co-operation between the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) is deep and enduring, and has developed over many decades since PNG’s independence.

Today defence co-operation is evident in the NZDF’s Mutual Assistance Programme (MAP) which provides assistance to the PNGDF for individual training and its Commercial Support Program (CSP).

Currently under the MAP, up to 40 PNGDF personnel annually receive command, leadership, staff and other specialist training at various Camps and Bases in New Zealand or through attachments with the Officer Cadet School in Waiouru.

In May 2009 the NZDF conducted a four week company level, tropical jungle exercise at the Goldie River Training Area near Port Moresby.

 PNGDF and NZDF troops serve together as part of the Combined Task Force, in the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

Both nations maintain a Defence Adviser in each other’s capitals, Port Moresby and Wellington.

Since October 2009 New Zealand has seconded Gp Capt Athol Forrest to the position of Deputy Chief of Staff in the PNG Defence Force.

The NZDF also provides regular Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P3 Orion Patrols to assist PNG monitor and control its maritime EEZ and from time to time both nations conduct combined military training, exercises and operations.

There exists today a mutual trust and respect between the two defence forces, and a close bond between many of each nation’s senior and middle ranked defence leaders and staff, which has built up over many years of shared military service, whether deployed together on postings, exercises, courses or operations.

In this sense the defence relationship is not only unique, but is one of the longest and strongest bonds between NZ and PNG.



New Zealand’s involvement in the Bougainville peace process and subsequent peace monitoring missions was a special chapter in NZ-PNG relations, and remains a key pillar in our bilateral relationship.

New Zealand became actively involved in ending the conflict from 1997, when we hosted and mediated the first of a series of meetings between parties.

The peace process concluded with the signing of the Bougainville Peace Agreement in August 2001.

 This was given legal effect in PNG through the unanimous adoption of the 2002 Bougainville Peace Agreement Act, which provides for greater autonomy for the Bougainville within the PNG state and a referendum on independence in 2015.

New Zealand also led the initial truce-monitoring group that deployed to Bougainville in 1997 and was the second largest contributor (after Australia) to the later Peace Monitoring Group.

Over the past four years New Zealand has had a deployment of New Zealand Police in Buka and Arawa assisting in the training of the Bougainville Community Police.


No comments:

Post a Comment