Statement Of Intent Re-Signed Between The New Zealand Defence Force, Palmerston North City Council And Manawatu District Council

(Posted on: May 22)

On 2nd May 2019, their Worships the Mayors of Palmerston North and Manawatū District and the Vice Chief of New Zealand’s Defence Force re-signed their Statement Of Intent which formally recognises the common interests shared between them and the Linton Military Camp, Ohakea Air Force Base and Hokowhitu campus within the city of Palmerston North and the Manawatū District.

The Statement Of Intent records the intention of the three parties to work together to maximise the business opportunities within the Manawatū region, ensure that defence personnel and their families become an integrated part of local communities, recognise and acknowledge the contribution of Defence to the regional economy and the community and to acknowledge the role of the two councils as co-advocates for defence issues in central and local government infrastructure, policy, planning, growth and development.

The Statement Of Intent was first signed in April 2016.   The re-signing reflects the ongoing New Zealand Defence Force leadership’s commitment to the relationship between the NZDF and the Manawatū.  The Statement has a life of ten years.

Meeting the expectations of the Statement of Intent is the role of the ‘Defence Issues Relevant To The Manawatū’ forum held quarterly between the three parties.  The intent of that forum is ‘to explore defence development in the region and to explore future possibilities’.

Air Vice Marshal Tony Davies, the Vice Chief Of the Defence Force acknowledged the mayors and their councils commitment to working with defence on a wide range of issues and acknowledged the fact that the Manawatū is soon to become the Defence Force’s centre of mass with the arrival of new capabilities into the region in the immediate future.

“The arrival of the new maritime surveillance aircraft into Ohakea will signify a major capability defence shirt to the Manawatū region” he said.

Palmerston North City Mayor, Grant Smith summarised the signing ceremony saying “I enjoyed what was a simple yet significant reaffirmation of the Statement of Intent and the intent to continue working together”.

“Having it signed and acknowledged by the Vice Chief of the Defence Force was important and symbolic.  We have large numbers of Army and Air force personnel, and Defence College students, and their families in our city and region, upward of 7000, and it’s in everyone’s interest to continue working collaboratively and effectively together.”

Manawatū District Mayor, Helen Worboys echoed Mayor Smith’s comment and acknowledged the role of the Air force in several Manawatū District Council initiatives involving the district’s young people.  “Defence involvement in our programmes are critical to their success” she said.