Tuesday, April 23, 2024

NZDF election contingent arrives in Solomon Islands

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) contingent tasked with helping out during Solomon Islands’ national election has sailed in to the capital Honiara to begin its work.

HMNZS Canterbury is carrying two Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopters, which will be used to assist the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission to transport polling boxes and election officials to various locations.

Solomon Islands is geographically dispersed, which means it can be logistically challenging to ensure everyone has a chance to vote in the 17 April ballot.

The NZDF Joint Task Force and two NH90 helicopters on the flight deck of HMNZS Canterbury while sailing to Honiara.

Colonel Anthony Childs is the Commander of the 200-strong Joint Task Force from New Zealand.

“New Zealand has always had a close relationship with Solomon Islands – most recently when the country hosted the Pacific Games last year, as well as our ongoing Solomon Islands assistance mission,” he said.

“We’ve been invited back by the government on this occasion to support the democratic process. The team and I look forward to partnering with our Pacific whānau and ensuring that everyone has a chance to vote.”

Royal Solomon Islands Police Force Commissioner Mostyn Mangau met with the contingent commander after the ship arrived in Honiara. 

The ship sailed from New Zealand on 26 March and will be in Solomon Islands throughout the election.

At last year’s Pacific Games, the NZDF deployed two NH90s and 89 personnel to support local police, alongside military forces from Australia, Papua New Guinea and Fiji.

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