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DEFSEC Media is New Zealand's defence, security and fire B2B/B2G publishing group. Our leading magazines, NZ Security, Fire NZ - and our latest title - Line of Defence, are read by key business, government and military decision makers. This website is the online home of cutting-edge content from each of our titles.


 

DEFSEC SITUATION REPORT

08 April 2016

SITUATION REPORT is your weekly news digest covering NZ's frontline industries of defence, security and fire protection. This SITREP contains the following stories: 

STRATEGIC

NZ nominates Helen Clark for UN Secretary-General

Prime Minister John Key on 05 April announced the New Zealand Government’s nomination of Helen Clark for the position of the United Nations Secretary-General.

“Having served as the Prime Minister of New Zealand for nine years and held one of the top jobs in the United Nations for the past seven, Helen Clark has the right mix of skills and experience for the job,” says Mr Key.

“There are major global challenges facing the world today and the United Nations needs a proven leader who can be pragmatic and effective.

“Coming from New Zealand, Helen Clark is well placed to bridge divisions and get results. She is the best person for the job,” he said. Ms Clark was NZ Prime Minister from 1999 to 2008 and has worked as the Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) for the past seven years.

“Helen Clark has a vast amount of experience in international affairs which will be hard for other candidates to match. She’s a great listener and communicator, and I know she will make a difference if elected.”

Mr Key has submitted New Zealand’s nomination letter to the Presidents of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and the UN Security Council (UNSC). The new Secretary-General will be appointed at the end of the year by the UNGA on the recommendation of the UNSC.

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NZ contributes to nuclear security programmes

Prime Minister John Key told the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington on 02 April that New Zealand is playing its part to ensure the threat of global nuclear terrorism is never realised. “Although New Zealand is geographically isolated and has only small amounts of radioactive and nuclear material, this alone does not guarantee our security,” says Mr Key.

Mr Key announced New Zealand’s ratification of two important nuclear security conventions at the Summit:  The Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. These conventions place obligations on countries to protect nuclear material and enhance cooperation to combat nuclear terrorism.

Mr Key also announced New Zealand will contribute a further $150,000 to United States nuclear security programmes in Iraq, Jordan and Cambodia and an additional $148,000 to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Nuclear Security Fund.

“Since the first Nuclear Security Summit in 2010, New Zealand has contributed more than $4 million to international projects to strengthen nuclear security,” he said.

The Nuclear Security Summit is an international effort to combat the threat of nuclear terrorism.  Since the Summits began in 2010, countries have worked together to secure vulnerable nuclear materials, break up black markets, and put measures in place to detect and intercept illicitly trafficked materials.

Mr Key says New Zealand has taken a number of steps to help with the global effort to ensure nuclear and radioactive materials are kept secure. “The Radiation Safety Act 2016, which was passed earlier this year, provides new regulations for people who use or manage radioactive or nuclear material.

“Last November the International Atomic Energy Agency reviewed New Zealand’s national security regime for radioactive material, and commended New Zealand for its proactive approach to these issues and noted that our new legislative framework supports international best practice on nuclear security.

The Nuclear Security Summit is an international effort to combat the threat of nuclear terrorism.  Since the Summits began in 2010, countries have worked together to secure vulnerable nuclear materials, break up black markets, and put measures in place to detect and intercept illicitly trafficked materials.

This year’s Summit was the fourth and final however participating countries have agreed to continue working together in this area.

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DEFENCE

Review of Australian industry involvement for LAND 400 Phase 2

According to a 01 April media release, the Australian Department of Defence has announced that the Government has agreed to an extension to the Request for Tender evaluation period of Army’s new Mounted Combat Reconnaissance Capability in order to conduct a review of the LAND 400 Phase 2 Risk Management Activities (RMA).

A significant part of the RMA is to develop the Australian Industry Capability Plan. As the LAND 400 RMA was planned prior to the launch of the new Industry Policy, Defence has determined that it would be prudent to review the RMA, to ensure it aligns with the new policy and achieves the best possible outcomes for Australian industry.

Deputy Secretary Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG), Mr Kim Gillis said that LAND 400 is a very significant project for both the Australian Army and Australian industry.

“Planning for the RMA and development of the RMA contracts, under which the work will be conducted with selected Tenderers, was completed prior to the launch of the Government’s new Defence Industry Policy Statement (DIPS),” Mr Gillis said.

“The strong alignment of the RMA with the DIPS will deliver benefits to both industry and Defence. This review will ensure Defence can obtain the best possible solution for Australian industry whilst delivering the required capability to Army.

“The review of the Australian industry aspects of the RMA will ensure that these benefits can be delivered. This review is further evidence of our commitment to improving the way Defence and Industry work together.

“This review will have no effect on the planned in-service date for the Army’s Mounted Combat Reconnaissance Capability”.

Mr Gillis said once the review had been completed, Defence will work with the selected Tenderers during the next phase of the RMA to ensure that Australian industry opportunities are maximised.

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Defence and Industry Conference 2016

The 2016 Defence and Industry Conference will be held at the National Convention Centre Canberra on Wednesday, 15 June.

Deputy Secretary Capability and Sustainment Group (CASG), Mr Kim Gillis said the 2016 D+I Conference provides a critical platform for Government-to-business and business-to-business interactions.

“This year’s event will bring together keynote speakers, decision-makers, equipment operators, project managers and prime and small to medium enterprises from across the Defence and industry sector,” Mr Gillis said.

“Release of the 2016 Defence White Paper, the Integrated Investment Program and Defence Industry Policy Statement opens the door to an exciting and challenging new era for Defence and industry.

“The Government’s clear intent is to re-set and transform the Defence and industry relationship, and this one-day event will acknowledge industry as a fundamental input to capability.”

Mr Gillis said this year’s event will have a series of concise and thought-provoking presentations with a premium on Defence industry involvement.

Registrations can be made at: http://www.defence.gov.au/casg/DoingBusiness/Industry/Findingopportunities/defenceindustryconference/

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BORDER

New Zealand’s international connectivity receives a boost

New Zealand will further expand its growing network of air services with new agreements set to be signed with several new countries, Transport Minister Simon Bridges announced on 04 April.

Ten new agreements and arrangements were negotiated at the International Civil Aviation Negotiation Conference, held in Turkey in October 2015, and Cabinet has approved the signing of new air services agreements with Israel, Mauritius, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama and Portugal.

Other arrangements negotiated include:

  • A negotiation with Turkey to permit airlines from each country to commence services using their own aircraft, where previously airlines were only allowed to code-share. New arrangements allow the airlines to operate up to 14 passenger and seven cargo services per week.
  • An amendment to New Zealand’s 1967 Air Transport Agreement with France. This introduces new route opportunities for New Zealand and New Caledonia airlines.
  • The negotiation of a code-share arrangement with The Bahamas.

“Air services agreements pave the way for airlines to operate new routes in and out of New Zealand, creating more links with the rest of the world,” Mr Bridges says.

Mr Bridges says more flights allow for more high-value freight connections, and increasing regional connections to international flights creates more opportunities for provincial exporters.

“Most of the major airlines in the world are now able to operate services to New Zealand without restriction. More than 70 air services agreements are in place with 17 new air routes announced in the past year.

“New Zealand is incredibly reliant on its air links with other countries, and we will continue our efforts to grow and enhance these connections,” Mr Bridges says.

More information about New Zealand’s international air services agreements is available at www.transport.govt.nz/air/internationalairservices.

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HOMELAND

NZSIS accepts Inspector-General's recommendations

The following statement was published by the Director of Security on 07 April:

I welcome the report into NZSIS’s holding and use of information collected for security clearance purposes by the Inspector-General and I accept all of the recommendations.

NZSIS staff responsible for vetting are conscious of the sensitivity of vetting information and place emphasis on the importance of personal integrity and discretion. The Inspector-General acknowledges this in her report.

The report identifies that the culture within NZSIS, of treating information with the utmost sensitivity, could be supported with more robust systems. The recommendations in the report are aimed at improving systems for controlling and auditing access to vetting information.

The personal information obtained during the vetting process is very sensitive and it is important the appropriate safeguards are in place. Changes are already underway in the vetting area and implementing these recommendations will become part of a much larger piece of work to improve the vetting service. I am committed to strengthening our systems and processes.

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ENFORCEMENT

Serco to pay $8m to Corrections

Corrections is to receive $8 million from Serco to cover the costs of Corrections stepping-in last July to manage Mt Eden Corrections Facility, as well as settling performance notices, Corrections Minister Judith Collins said on 04 April.

“An agreement with Serco has also been reached that effectively narrows down the contractual arrangements with Serco to a labour supply agreement with other transition services for the balance of the contract through to 31 March 2017,” Ms Collins said.

Corrections will continue to manage Mt Eden Corrections Facility with Serco providing personnel at cost until the end of the contract. Serco will make no profit from the arrangement.

In July 2015, Corrections Chief Executive Ray Smith invoked the Step-In clause in the contract, effectively giving management of the prison to Corrections. In December 2015, Mr Smith announced that he had invoked a break point clause which would effectively end the contract on 31 March 2017.

“The agreement reached provides for a smooth transition until Serco’s involvement with the prison ends on 31 March 2017,” Ms Collins stated. “Corrections will continue to run the prison from that time. The longer term management structure will be determined by the government at a later date following advice from Corrections.

“The decisions outlined above are separate from the Chief Inspector of Corrections’ report into Serco management of MECF which is currently before the courts and therefore can’t be commented upon at this time,” said Ms Collins.

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New health and safety equipment for Corrections

Corrections Minister Judith Collins on 07 April visited Upper Hutt Community Corrections to view safety and security enhancements designed to keep frontline Corrections staff safe while doing their job.

“Safety and security features were demonstrated at Upper Hutt Community Corrections, which had a $4.68 million refurbishment last year that included upgrading the site’s security and technology,” said the minister.

“As well as controlled entry, the reception counter is anti-roll to prevent people from jumping over it, interview rooms are glazed to improve visibility, have duress alarms and two points of exit.

“There’s an increased line of sight throughout the building, and the front doors can be locked from several places in the building to provide controlled access.  Staff also have access to portable duress alarms for use in the building.

“Sixteen CCTV cameras monitor activity throughout the building and its entrances.  All of these features are integrated to improve safety while maintaining an environment that is conducive to working with cases.

“Frontline staff based in the community are able to activate an app on their smartphones that sends key details back to Corrections to act on if they feel unsafe during a visit to an offender’s house,” Ms Collins said.

The safety features available at Upper Hutt have also been implemented at many other Community Corrections locations as part of an ongoing national upgrade program. More than half of the Community Corrections sites across the country are being upgraded by early 2019 to improve safety, security and facilities.

“The demonstration also included Corrections officers from Rimutaka Prison wearing personalised stab resistant body armour,” stated the minister.

All Corrections officers are issued with personalised stab resistant body armour, and pepper spray, slash resistant gloves, tactical communications and exit training have also been introduced to prisons in recent years.

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SECURITY

Auckland railway operator fails safety test says union

A Rail and Maritime Transport Union media release of 17 March called on Transdev, the company that runs train services on Auckland’s metro lines, to put safety first after a fatal shooting at Papakura Station the previous week.

“Our members are feeling shaken after the fatal shooting at Papakura Station on Saturday,” says Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) Northern Region Organiser Stuart Johnstone.

The fatal shooting, stated the release, follows a vicious assault at the station in December 2015.

“Our members are calling on Transdev to do more to improve security. This will help protect both rail staff and passengers.”

“Yet the company is dragging its heels. Despite finding the money to employ “mystery shoppers” to grade how train managers are performing, the company has repeatedly rebuffed our suggestions on how to improve safety,” said Johnstone.

“Transdev has cited cost as a reason not to implement our suggestions, but can you really put a cost on health and safety of rail workers and passengers?”

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FIRE

New South Wales Bush fire season draws to a close

The end of March marked the end of the statutory Bush Fire Danger Period (BFDP) in NSW after much of the state experienced a relatively quiet fire season. With predictions of a long and difficult season due to a strong El Nino weather pattern in the Pacific, NSW was spared the worst after good rainfall at the right time across the season.

NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said there were early indications that the season would be a challenging one with the first bush fire emergency occurring in early August.

“There was unusual weather in the Blue Mountains in late winter when just two weeks after being covered in snow we saw homes under threat from a fast moving bush fire.

“I have heard many anecdotal stories from this event comparing the soaring heat of the fire front, with the freezing temperatures at the staging area,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.

The season mostly focused on small bursts of activity with NSW RFS firefighters responding to over 6,912 bush and grass fires since the 1 July.

Due to the mild conditions across the state, the NSW RFS were able to coordinate a number of interstate response teams to provide assistance to colleagues battling devastating blazes in Western Australia, Victoria and Tasmania. “Just under 800 RFS Members were part of the 1,293 people deployed to work alongside their interstate colleagues assisting in Tasmania,” stated Commissioner Fitzsimmons.

Commissioner Fitzsimmons said crews have now started hazard reduction burning and will conduct further burns when weather opportunities arise. “Hazard reduction burns are very much weather dependent and traditionally there is only a small window of opportunity, sometimes as few as 20 or 30 days, during which these prescribed burns can be safely and effectively conducted.”

While fire permits are not required outside the BFDP, property owners conducting private hazard reduction burns are usually required to have a Hazard Reduction Certificate before lighting up. Hazard Reduction Certificates are free and can be obtained from NSW RFS Fire Control Centres.

Due to recent localised warm and dry weather conditions a number of Local Government Areas (LGAs) have extended their statutory Bush Fire Danger Period until 30 April 2016.

2015/16 BFDP facts and figures include: Total number of bush, grass and scrub fires – 6,912; Total hectares burnt – 64,572.

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