27 Apr 2012

NZ police still needed with RAMSI, says defence minister

1:45 pm on 27 April 2012

New Zealand's Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman has indicated that the job of New Zealand troops with the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, or RAMSI, is almost done.

Australia and New Zealand have begun discussions with the Solomon Islands on withdrawing the remaining RAMSI troops.

New Zealand has about 45 defence personnel and 28 police in Solomon Islands.

Jonathan Coleman says while the withdrawal of troops is being looked at, there's an ongoing role in Solomon Islands for New Zealand's police.

"They could well stay. There will be an ongoing need, as I understand it, for police mentoring but that's really a policing issue rather than a military/security issue. we have to make sure that the Solomons is secure but at the same time, when they're ready to actually provide their own security, it's time to take the trainer wheels off."

Jonathan Coleman