1 May 2013

Renewed Pacific focus for trans-Tasman defence forces

2:29 pm on 1 May 2013

The New Zealand Defence Minister, Jonathan Coleman, and his Australian counterpart say the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan will mean a renewed focus on defence activities in the Pacific.

Dr Coleman has met with Stephen Smith, in Auckland, before the first-ever meeting of South Pacific defence ministers, which starts in Tonga tomorrow.

Dr Coleman says the agenda includes maritime security in the Pacific and how New Zealand and Australia can assist smaller nations.

Stephen Smith says the meeting comes at a time when both New Zealand and Australian troops are returning from major overseas deployments, notably Afghanistan.

He says he and Dr Coleman discussed the future activities of both defence forces.