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16 March 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: 


NZ foreign minister receives Iran FM and visits Australia

Foreign Minister Murray McCully met with Iran’s Foreign Minister Dr Mohammad Javad Zarif in Wellington on 13 March.

“We are very pleased to welcome Minister Zarif to New Zealand. His visit is the first by an Iranian Foreign Minister in over ten years and allows us to refresh the relationship between our two countries following the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal in January,” Mr McCully said.

“Our talks today covered a range of Middle East regional security issues relevant to New Zealand’s membership of the UN Security Council, including Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan.

“We have also discussed trade and economic issues, and concluded an arrangement between the New Zealand Export Credit Office and the Export Guarantee Fund of Iran. This will help facilitate economic cooperation by giving exporters greater confidence in the trading arrangements between our two countries.

“I took the opportunity to thank Minister Zarif for the critical role he played in securing the nuclear agreement and encouraged Iran to use this opportunity to reset its relationship with the international community, he said, adding, “It was in this spirit that I raised New Zealand’s concerns about the human rights situation in Iran.”

Mr McCully will also travel to Australia this week to meet with his Australian counterpart, Julie Bishop. “These twice-yearly Foreign Ministers’ Consultations are an opportunity to exchange views across a range of foreign policy issues,” Mr McCully said.

“As well as taking stock of the Trans-Tasman relationship, we will discuss developments in the Pacific, including the post Cyclone Winston recovery effort, and how New Zealand and Australia best assist Fiji.

“We will look at our shared interests in Asia and the Middle East, and I plan to provide Minister Bishop with an update on developments in the United Nations Security Council,” he stated.

While in Australia, Mr McCully will also meet with other Australian Ministers, the Opposition Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, and deliver an address to the Lowy Institute.

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McCully outlines New Zealand’s international priorities for 2016

In a 15 March speech, Foreign Minister Murray McCully introduced New Zealand’s interenational priorities for 2016. The following is an excerpt of that speech relating to NZ’s approach to the United Nationals Security Council over the remainder of the year:

At the centre of the international rules based system sits the United Nations Security Council, of which New Zealand is currently a non-permanent member, following in the footsteps of Australia’s two-year term.

There are some things that only the Council can do - like giving formal effect to the Iran nuclear deal.

While much work remains to build the sustained trust between Iran and the international community over time, getting an agreement at all represents a huge achievement, and reflects great credit on those most directly involved. But sadly the divisions in the Council today make this a rare achievement.

The Council is not dealing with the most pressing global security issues of our time. Take the example of Syria: a slow motion train wreck that has resulted in over a quarter of a million deaths, a huge humanitarian disaster and a refugee crisis that has now engulfed Europe, not to mention the rise of ISIS and the widespread recruitment of foreign terrorist fighters.

For five long years the UN Security Council has been paralysed. Now, finally, we are seeing some positive movement. But the current truce is fragile. Some will no doubt point to the work the Council does in relation to Syria, Yemen and other trouble-spots, in asserting the case for humanitarian access.

Whilst those efforts are valuable and constructive, they are not a substitute for the Council carrying out its responsibility to stop the conflict. Anything less represents failure.

We want to see a Council that is able to put its political weight behind a permanent ceasefire in Syria. We also want to see the UN Security Council shoulder its responsibilities on the Middle East Peace Process. It has been seven years since the Council has even passed a resolution on this question.

We keep being told that “the time is not right” and “the parties are not ready. But while we wait, the situation on the ground gets worse, violence has escalated, and the viability of the two state solution is disappearing as a consequence of Israeli settlement activity. This question now looms as a serious challenge to the credibility of the Council.

We recognise that as elected members we all have to play our part. That is why, last year, frustrated by the Council’s lack of resolve, New Zealand circulated a draft resolution to try to find a pathway to bring the parties back to the negotiating table.

Faced with the reality that a resolution would not succeed we agreed to wait. Now the situation on the ground has deteriorated and the settlement activity has continued.

As an elected member of the Council, we have a responsibility to make contributions. So we are again looking at draft text for a resolution, and we are talking to parties more closely engaged in the issue to encourage them to act.

For the Council to do nothing, while the scope for a two state solution is completely undermined, would be a total abrogation of its responsibilities.

We are also using our term to encourage a sharper focus on conflict prevention.

There is something seriously wrong when we are spending $8 billion a year on peacekeeping and a further $10.5 billion providing humanitarian support for victims of conflict, but virtually nothing on the prevention of conflict.

There is always, of course, the debate as to when the international community is justified in interfering in the affairs of sovereign nations. But it would be my observation that there is significant scope for the UN and the international community to engage earlier and more effectively to head off conflicts before they start.

During our term on the Council we are making contributions to improving the Council’s day-to-day working methods, and the use of the veto. The veto’s impact today far exceeds what was envisaged in the UN Charter – to the huge detriment of the Council‘s effectiveness and credibility.

New Zealand has long opposed the veto.  We are working to support initiatives calling for restraint in the exercise of the veto and for more effort to be applied within the Council to avoid its use. That’s why New Zealand is using its two-year term to demonstrate that we are more effective when we work as a Council of 15, rather than an elite group of five.

It is in all our interests to have a stronger and more relevant Council, capable of fulfilling its intended purpose, and we will continue to play our part in realising this goal.

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NZDF commander visits cyclone-devastated Fiji

The NZDF’s Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, Major General Tim Gall has visited the cyclone-ravaged island of Vanuabalavu in Fiji’s northern outer islands to see at first hand the effects of Tropical Cyclone Winston, and visit NZDF personnel working in the area.

According to a 13 March NZDF media release, MAJGEN Gall flew by RNZAF NH90 helicopter from Suva to Lomaloma, the main village on Vanuabalavu Island and the hub of the NZDF’s operations in the northern outlying islands. Vanuabalavu lies 293km to the east of Suva.

During his visit, MAJGEN Gall also met with local officials including the Minister for Disaster Management, Inia Seruiratu, and Republic of Fiji Military Forces Commander Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto.

“Our ships and aircraft have been delivering aid supplies to remote communities devastated by the cyclone. We have also been helping make urgent repairs to schools, clinics and other community buildings. Our aircraft, particularly the NH90 helicopters, are facilitating movements of emergency supplies and Fiji government personnel,” he said.

“The NZDF has been the biggest component of the whole-of-government response from New Zealand. We are now starting to think about how things transition from a military-type response to a more civilian-type response,” commented Mark Ramsden, the New Zealand High Commissioner to Fiji.

Fiji’s National Disaster Management Office said the category five cyclone displaced up to 45 per cent of the country’s population of 880,000, damaged thousands of homes and hectares of farmland and killed at least 42 people when it tore through Fiji on 20 February.

The NZDF’s humanitarian aid operation in Fiji is one of its largest peacetime deployments to the Pacific. Close to 500 combat engineers, soldiers, sailors and aircrew, two ships and six aircraft including two multi-role helicopters have been deployed since 21 February to support Fiji’s disaster recovery efforts.

Multi-role vessel HMNZS Canterbury is anchored off Lomaloma and is serving as the maritime base for the NZDF’s operations in the northern Lau archipelago. Offshore patrol vessel HMNZS Wellington is also operating in northern Lau and has delivered boxes of tinned food, crackers and vaccines and bales of tree saplings to affected communities on Yacata Island.

Almost 300 combat engineers and naval personnel, assisted by a 13-strong New Zealand Fire Service’s Urban Search and Rescue Team, are supporting the rebuilding at Lomaloma. RNZAF NH90 helicopters continue to deliver aid supplies and transport Fiji Government staff to outlying islands devastated by the cyclone. HMNZS Canterbury’s Seasprite helicopter has been transporting civilian medical volunteers from New Zealand and Fiji Government staff from Vanuabalavu to nearby islands in northern Lau.

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Creating Zero Tolerance Approach to Inappropriate Behaviour

The NZDF announced on 15 March the launch of Operation RESPECT, the culmination of two years of work to tackle inappropriate and harmful sexual behaviours in the New Zealand Defence Force.

Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General (LTGEN) Tim Keating, said the Action Plan has been driven by two imperatives – looking after the Defence Force’s people and recruiting and retaining more military women. “Two years ago the Ministry of Defence produced a ground-breaking report Maximising Opportunities for Military Women, which challenged us to lift our game on a number of fronts,” he said.

“New research we’ve commissioned shows that being a woman in our Defence Force is still harder than it should be. There continue to be pockets of people that think it acceptable to belittle, ridicule and at its worst, harass and even assault their colleagues.

“That’s unacceptable. We have a Defence Force we can be proud of. Any actions like this diminish us both in the eyes of our personnel and in the eyes of the public, who rightly demand we have the highest standards.

The Operation RESPECT Action Plan results from three reviews and a significant work programme: the Ministry of Defence’s Maximising Opportunities for Military Women in the NZDF review (2014), the Ministry’s Recruit Training review (2015), a review of Air Force culture, and the ongoing work of the NZDF’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Management governance group.

The Action Plan contains six key action areas:

  1. Establishing a strategy to change the NZDF’s culture and behaviours to challenge persistent sexism and better integrate women into our Defence Force;
  2. Increasing training including a sexual ethics and healthy relationships training package, and holding ‘town halls’ across camps and bases to discuss inappropriate sexual behaviour;
  3. Implementing a restricted disclosure system by 30 June, 2016, to offer an alternative way to report sexual assault;
  4. Introducing a dedicated, professional sexual assault response team;
  5. Addressing issues associated with specific risk factors including facilities and alcohol.
  6. Increasing the percentage of women in our armed forces, and the representation of women in senior leadership roles.

“Our Defence Force’s response to this issue will be similar to the ‘Broken Windows’ response to crime where even minor violations will be dealt with, so that we build a community where it is abundantly clear to everyone what we expect, and what we don’t.

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Centenary of the Somme to be marked

Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry confirmed last week that the centenary of the horrific Battle of the Somme and the enduring impact of the First World War on New Zealand society will be marked by the WW100 programme this year.

“2016 sees our overseas commemorations move from Gallipoli to the Western Front, with the Battle of the Somme an anniversary of particular significance,” Ms Barry said.

“It was on the Western Front that our nation suffered the greatest loss of life,” she observed. “Nearly 6000 of our soldiers were wounded on the Somme and 2000 were killed in unimaginably horrific conditions.”

The contribution that New Zealand made in France during the First World War in 1916 will be commemorated overseas with three services on 15 September in Longueval, France, where New Zealand forces first entered the Battle of the Somme. Domestically there will be a national ceremony at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.

The WW100 programme is also focusing on how the war affected the lives of those still at home in New Zealand and the introduction of conscription.

“WW100’s 2016 programme gives New Zealanders an opportunity to reflect on the historical events of 1916 and the role they had in shaping our nation and our shared values,” stated the minister.

For more information about the commemorations of the Battle of the Somme centenary, visit To find out more about WW100, visit

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Contract extension for Aust Defence ICT transformation program

According to a 09 March Australian Defence media release, Defence is currently undertaking a significant Information and Communications Technology (ICT) transformation program.

As the transformation projects currently underway require a focused and sustained effort, Defence has exercised a contract extension under the existing Unisys Regional ICT Services Agreement for on-site support services until October 2018.

A decision on the longer-term delivery of ICT services through a Distributed Computing Bundle will be made over the next 24 months.

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NZ Security Review’s ‘single Act’ recommendation draws concerns

The recently released report of the First Independent Review of Intelligence and Security in New Zealand, Intelligence and Security in a Free Society, has drawn a wide range of reactions in the media. Particular interests has been focused on the recommendation of reviewers Sir Michael Cullen and Dame Patsy Reddy that the GCSB and SIS and their work be covered by a single piece of legislation.

“We recommend that the Agencies, their oversight bodies and potentially also intelligence assessment be covered by a single piece of legislation,” states the introduction to the review.

“The legislation would include a new, comprehensive authorisation regime requiring some level of authorisation for all of the Agencies’ intelligence and security activities that involve gathering information about individuals or organisations, proportionate to the level of intrusion involved. It would also make some changes to facilitate greater oversight of the Agencies and accountability for their activities.”

In particular, the review recommends consolidating the objectives, functions and powers of the Agencies and the arrangements for their oversight into a single Intelligence and Security Act. “This would provide greater clarity about what the Agencies can and cannot do, and what the checks and balances on their activities are.”

According to the review, the GCSB and SIS are governed by separate Acts as a result of historical factors that are no longer helpful. This has led to inconcsistencies around how the law is interpreted and has hamped the agencies in the performance of their functions.

“The purpose of the Act should be to protect New Zealand as a free, open and democratic society. This reflects the Agencies’ role in assisting the government to fulfil its obligation to ensure its citizens can go about their lawful business safely and without undue interference with their human rights.”

Prime minister John Key welcomed the review’s report, stating that it “contains an extensive range of recommendations which aim to improve the clarity and consistency of the legislative framework governing the security and intelligence agencies". He also commented that the ‘single Act’ recommendation is the “central recommendation” of the review.

The Government will be looking for consensus when it looks to implementation of the review’s findings. Members of the Intelligence and Security Committee, a statutory panel that includes Labour Party leader Andrew Little, aren’t yet convinced that the recommended legislative changes won’t result in the GCSB was picking up powers it didn't previously have.

Critics view the ‘single act’ recommendation as a case of legislating increased powers for the GCSB in terms of its ability to spy on New Zealanders.

According to Nernon Small in, “whether Cullen, Reddy and the Government, if it accepts their report, will convince the doubters that the spy agencies' powers have not been greatly broadened - including access to other agencies' databases, at which Labour had already baulked, - remains highly unlikely… Because frankly, it would.”

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Topping off a milestone for Justice Precinct

Justice and Courts Minister Amy Adams placed the last bit of cement on the Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct’s rooftop as part of a 11 March topping off ceremony. “This marks an important milestone in the Precinct’s development as well as a chance to recognise the significant progress we have made since construction began 15 months ago,” Ms Adams stated.

“There’s now just over a year to go until we deliver on our commitment to provide Cantabrians with modern and effective justice and emergency services,” she said. The topping off marked the end of the construction of the major structural steelwork and roof and the beginning of the next phase, which is completing the enclosing of the buildings and beginning work on the interior.

Currently, Christchurch court services are available from four different locations. The $300 million Precinct will bring these court services and all justice and emergency services together into one modern building, right at the heart of the city.

“With its 19 court rooms, dedicated Emergency Operations Centre, and its capacity to continue operations during national emergencies such as floods or earthquakes, the building is well equipped to serve Cantabrians into the future,” says Ms Adams.

The largest multi-agency project in New Zealand’s history, and an important part of the Canterbury rebuild, the Precinct is scheduled for completion by early 2017 and to be in use by mid-2017.

The Justice and Emergency Services Precinct will comprise three buildings: a justice building, an emergency services building and an operational car park building, totaling 42,000 square metres of floor space. 19 Courtrooms will service the High Court, District Courts, Family Courts, Youth Court, Maori Land Court, Environment Court and other special jurisdictions. The precinct will accommodate 1,100 staff and 900 daily visitors.

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Barclay Simpson Security and Resilience Market Report 2016

Specialist international corporate governance recruitment company Barclay Simpson has recently released its Security and Resilience Market Report 2016. The report combines a review of the prevailing conditions in the security and resilience recruitment market with the results of Barclay Simpson’s latest employer survey.

According to the survey:

  • 68% of security managers do not believe their department is sufficiently resourced for the demands made on it. (Down from 76% last year)
  • 91% of security departments anticipate they will need to recruit sometime in 2016.
  • 80% of managers report they consider salary expectations to be affordable.
  • The demand for more experienced security professionals is rising.

The security and resilience recruitment market, states the report “remains substantially dependent both on the economic environment within which it operates and also the perceived threats and the losses that can result from a lack of investment in security or resilience.” Recent high profile data breaches at Ebay, JP Morgan Chase, Home Depot, and Ashley Madison, it continues, “is ensuring that CEOs are aware of the threat landscape they face.”

“There is an arms race. To put a price on this, the Centre of Economic and Business Research estimated in 2015 that the annual cost to the UK economy of cyber security crime was £34 billion, half of which was actually spent on security. For security and resilience professionals the good news is that a truce is not about to be called. We should also mention more traditional terrorism which is doing its bit for those working in corporate security.

“In an arms race in which threats are growing and becoming more sophisticated, those working in security or resilience need to be able to respond accordingly. Given this, it is not good news for all, as some will be unable to grow and meet the challenge. There are those working in security and resilience who years ago were perfectly employable but who would now struggle to find employment.

The report’s outlook for 2016 is for the continued development of the security and resilience market resulting in ongoing demand for suitably skilled professionals, although it does beg the question “where will the required security and resilience professionals come from?”

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Kiwis flocking to RealMe as interest in digital ids grows

According to, Kiwis are ‘flocking’ to sign up for digital IDs.

For government digital id service RealMe, states the report, business is booming with around 5,000 people signing up each week. Currently about 130,000 people have signed up.

RealMe works as a single online ID for New Zealanders. It does away with the need for separate login credentials for each government department, allowing a user to access a range of services with just one account. RealMe, for example, may be used to enrol to vote, apply for a student loan, or renew one’s passport.

The report quotes Maria Robertson, deputy chief executive of the Department of Internal Affair's service delivery and operations group, as stating that RealMe has "passport strength" security.
The verification process for RealMe is stringent and not unlike the process required in order to be issued a passport. This is important given the high value New Zealanders place on security and privacy and protection from identity theft.

Ms Robertson confirmed that there had been no security breaches with RealMe, and that the system does not take information from other agencies.

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Interstate security licensing loophole uncovered by ABC investigation

According to the ABC’s 7:30 Report, up to 300 security guards a month in NSW are gaining their security license by apparently exploiting a loophole which fails to check an applicant's citizenship or English language ability.

A Legal loophole allows applicants to qualify in Queensland and then transfer to the stricter jurisdictions of NSW or Victoria. Queensland allows people on holiday visas to become security guards.

The 7.30 Report found evidence “suggesting one NSW security licence broker sold accreditation tests, with answers, to people who had not undergone any study or training.”

“The legal loophole, known as "licence shopping", exploits shortcomings in Queensland's industry regulations, which allow students to qualify for their security licence then transfer to stricter jurisdictions, such as NSW or Victoria.”

The 7.30 Report investigation identified a Sydney security firm that has been selling Queensland tests and answers. It also found that just 48 percent of the NSW's security guard applicants are receiving the proper training and scrutiny.

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