NZ and Australia defence ties sound

New Zealand Defence Minister, Jonathan Coleman. Photo / File
New Zealand Defence Minister, Jonathan Coleman. Photo / File

Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith says formal talks with his New Zealand counterpart have proved fruitful, showing the bilateral defence relationship between the nations is in good shape.

New Zealand Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman met Mr Smith in Perth on Friday for their first formal discussions since the countries signed a Defence Relationship Review in January, although it was their fourth meeting this year.

"Our practical co-operation continues to be enhanced across the board," Mr Smith told reporters at a joint news conference.

"We continue to be very pleased by the navy-to-navy collaboration.

"We've got very good collaboration which we are enhancing in our heavy amphibious lift area, in our sea support ship area, including and involving cross-crewing and the like.

"It's very good for general co-operation, it's very good for interoperability and it also puts us in a good position in response to humanitarian disaster relief exercises, which we are regularly called upon in our part of the world."

Mr Coleman said it was "not just all talk", with New Zealand using its tankers to refuel Australian defence ships at sea, for example.

"We are really working very closely together," he said.

"We're facing common challenges across our defence establishments in terms of the affordability of future capabilities - challenges that all Western nations are having to face up to."

The ministers also said they had discussed drawdown dates for stabilisation forces in East Timor and Solomon Islands, and future defence configurations in Afghanistan.

- AAP

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 24 Oct 2014 02:33:22 Processing Time: 707ms