28 Apr 2012

NZ troops' job in Solomons 'almost done'

12:57 pm on 28 April 2012

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman has indicated that the job of New Zealand troops with the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands 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.

But Jonathan Coleman says there will still be a continuing role for the New Zealand police officers.

"They could well stay. I mean 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. The key thing is we have to make sure the Solomons is secure,'' he said.

''But at the same time, when they're ready to actually provide their own security, it's time to take the trainer wheels off."