18 Dec 2013

Defence exchanges with Australia discussed

8:48 pm on 18 December 2013

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman says increasing crew exchanges between the New Zealand and Australian navies are not because of staff shortages.

Jonathan Coleman.

Jonathan Coleman. Photo: RNZ

Dr Coleman and his Australian counterpart, Senator David Johnston, held their annual meeting in Auckland on Wednesday to discuss cooperation between the nations' defence forces.

The minister said they discussed increasing naval cooperation and the possibility of additional exchanges of crew.

However, he said although Australian sailors helped to crew New Zealand Navy ships earlier this year due to crew shortages, that would not be the reason for any extra exchanges.

Dr Coleman said they briefly discussed the issue of asylum-seekers trying to arrive in Australia by boat, but said Australia has not asked for any assistance from New Zealand to deal with this.