skip to main content

New Zealand, Fiji sign defence agreement

The new agreement between New Zealand and Fiji provides a framework for growing bilateral defence ties. In April New Zealand's first P-8A Poseidon maritime reconnaissance aircraft was deployed to the South Pacific country in operational trials. (New Zealand Defence Force)

New Zealand and Fiji have signed a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) to strengthen defence ties. The agreement is seen as a response to rising tension in the South Pacific.

The SOFA was signed in Fiji by New Zealand Defence Minister Andrew Little and Fiji's Minister for Home Affairs and Immigration Pio Tikoduadua.

An accompanying statement of intent said defence co-operation would focus on areas including military training, maritime security, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR).

Little said the agreement will allow the two countries' armed forces to co-operate on each other's territories as they seek to partner on addressing regional security threats including climate change.

โ€œThe SOFA is a legal framework for the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) for closer co-operation within each other's territories,โ€ Little said.

He added, โ€œThis agreement reflects the value New Zealand places on our relationship with Fiji and is important for our militaries to work together more effectively, including during our frequent exercises, and humanitarian assistance and disaster response co-operation.โ€

The two countries already have strong defence ties, although the agreement provides a formal structure for that engagement.

The NZDF and the RFMF hold regular training exercises, reflecting New Zealand's position alongside Australia as one of Fiji's most important defence partners. The most recent of these training programmes commenced on 7 June.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...