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National security in the sights of annual ‘weapons expo’

Line of Defence Magazine, 30 October 2018

A Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopter and its crew provide assistance in Fiji during Tropical Cyclone Winston. Image courtesy NZDF.A Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopter and its crew provide assistance in Fiji during Tropical Cyclone Winston. Image courtesy NZDF.

 

The New Zealand Defence Industry Association will stage its annual forum for the 21st time this week, with its original home, Palmerston North, playing host. The event will attract hundreds of local and international delegates from government, the military and industry.

 

This year’s forum theme – “Exploring the role of industry in national and regional security” – reflects a decision by the NZDIA to widen the event from its traditional defence focus to a more expansive focus on national security.

The change acknowledges New Zealand’s ‘all risks, all hazards’ approach to defence and national security, which places the New Zealand Defence Force within a network of government agencies – including those focused on civil defence, border security, policing, and search and rescue – that play a role in securing New Zealanders from harm.

In describing the changed focus, NZDIA Chairman Andrew Ford reiterated the Government’s definition of national security as “the condition which permits the citizens of a state to go about their daily business confidently free from fear and able to make the most of opportunities to advance their way of life.”

“It encompasses the preparedness, protection and preservation of people, and of property and information, both tangible and intangible.”

Accordingly, the Forum is set to bring together industry and a wide range of Government agencies to explore the development of wider collaboration between government and industry across the whole national security enterprise. 

“Supporting Government aspirations around national security advancing a free way of life in New Zealand, in its widest sense, is of benefit to all,” stated Mr Ford.

The Annual Forum has in recent years been disrupted by protest action involving picketing and harassment of delegates attempting to enter the venue. Protest groups have criticised the event as constituting a “weapons expo”  or “arms fair”.

Such action is again expected this year from a small yet dedicated group of activists, serving perhaps ironically as an example of the free way of life that those involved in New Zealand’s national security seek to protect.

“We are delighted to be able to welcome the NZDIA Forum back to Palmerston North after a long absence,” Mayor of Palmerston North, Grant Smith said recently.

“Defence and National Security expertise resides in our city and with the pre-eminent academics on our doorstep at Massey University and more than three times more defence personnel in our region than any other in New Zealand, Palmerston North and the Manawatu is the nation’s Defence capital and natural home for the NZDIA Forum.”

“NZDIA is pleased to collaborate with the City and people of Palmerston North and the Manawatu Region, and to bring a wide range of industry visitors from across the regions and overseas to understand and experience the Defence, National Security and commercial opportunities in the region,” added Mr Ford.

“We look forward to welcoming visitors, delegates, sponsors and exhibitors to join a critical conversation about national security and how we ensure the preservation of the many ways of life valued by New Zealanders.”

 

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