Defence Minister Judith Collins heading to Tonga for armed forces centre opening

By and is republished with permission

Defence Minister Judith Collins is heading to Tonga for three days for the opening of an Armed Forces Leadership centre.

The $6.5 million centre, partly funded by New Zealand’s Defence Force and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will be opened by King Tupou VI on Tuesday, providing a programme adapted from the New Zealand Pacific Leadership model.

“New Zealand has a long, shared military history with Tonga and the development of this leadership centre is an excellent example of that partnership in action,” she said in a statement.

“This type of partnership is important as the Pacific is our home and we all benefit from sharing knowledge and working together to support a secure, stable and prosperous region.”

Departing on Monday, Collins will also meet with ministerial counterparts “to discuss regional challenges and opportunities in advance of the South Pacific Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Auckland later this year”.

She will also visit the Tongan National Disaster Risk Management Office to hear about NZDF’s role in humanitarian and disaster relief and training, and travel to a Tongan army camp, before returning to New Zealand on Wednesday.

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