20 Oct 2010

Minister believes closer defence ties with Britain likely

8:21 pm on 20 October 2010

The Minister of Defence believes it is likely New Zealand's armed forces will have increased co-operation with Britain following major cuts to its defence spending.

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday announced cuts to the army navy and air force over the next five years. Some 17,000 personnel cuts will be made.

Defence Minister Wayne Mapp says he has spoken to his UK counterpart who wants to increase Britain's involvement with Australia and New Zealand.

A review of New Zealand's defence policy and spending is due in about three weeks.

Dr Mapp says he does not intend to get into Britain's situation and says defence spending in New Zealand will be kept down by making most administration jobs civilian positions.

He wants funding shifted into frontline staffing positions, which currently get 45% of spending.