NZ Naval Report to the Defence Council – 1975

Extract from the report of the Naval Board of the Defence Council for period 1 April 1974 to 31 March 1975


Since I assumed the portfolio of Defence last September, I have taken the opportunity to visit many of the Ministry’s operational and training establishments in New Zealand; and I shall shortly be visiting New Zealand Force South-east Asia in Singapore. Apart from providing me with an early appreciation and insight into the policies of my Ministry, these visits have impressed me, once again, not only with the high calibre of our military personnel but also with the intricate problems involved in defence provision in the 1970s. I am convinced moreover, that New Zealand’s present relatively favourable strategic situation must not be allowed to interfere with the orderly development of our armed forces.

The Government, of course, has consistently pursued a policy aimed at promoting the long-term peace of the world, and particularly in the Pacific basin-the area of vital importance to us. In our efforts to strengthen bilateral relations with our neighbours in the South West Pacific and South-east Asia, our armed forces have continued, in the past year, to play a most creditable part, especially with their developing mutual assistance programme. We have also emphasised our support for United Nations’ peacekeeping; and steps have been taken more adequately to prepare our servicemen for participation in such operations. New Zealand Force South-east Asia in Singapore is contributing to the stability of the region and is welcomed by the governments concerned. The scope of our defence effort, then, is not restricted to New Zealand alone; we reject completely any isolationist or semi-isolationist approach to the problem of security.

The role of our armed forces has broadened considerably in recent years, with their increasing involvement in aid to the civil community and activities in support of the Government’s foreign policy. Nevertheless, their primary role remains the defence of New Zealand and its interests. They must be capable of meeting likely contingencies, both now and in the less certain future. For this purpose, they must be of sufficient size, properly equipped, and fully manned with trained personnel.

The provision of defence forces cannot be approached on any half-hearted or piecemeal basis. We must concentrate upon the planned long-term development of our armed forces, while always allowing scope for rapid adjustment to unexpected changes in the international situation. The size and structure of these forces must necessarily be the outcome of compromise between, on one hand, our likely requirements in the decades ahead, as far as they can be assessed, and, on the other, our relatively limited defence capacity, because of our inadequate resources. With the current rapid changes in weapons technology, and the spiralling cost of the resulting new weapons systems, it will be no easy matter for New Zealand effectively to re-equip its forces in future. The settlement of this very complex question must be on the basis of an exhaustive study of all the options open to New Zealand. In some instances, there are advantages to be gained from delaying decisions until the full implications of recent developments in warfare become apparent.

While modem equipment is a vital element in sustaining the professionalism of the armed forces, it alone cannot be sufficient. There must be trained manpower to use it. Our needs at present are adequately met by the provision of forces trained and ready for expansion in an emergency if necessary. For those forces, considerable manpower, both regular and territorial, is required.

In the case of the regular forces, it is essential that sufficient men of the right calibre come forward for service. With the increasing pressure upon defence finance, it is equally essential that we retain those who do and who in many cases undergo expensive specialist training. In this field we are competing for manpower in a full employment economy; and have no hope of success if the conditions of service we can offer are substantially below those in civilian employment. When we came into office late in 1972 we were confronted with the accumulated result of years of neglect in this field, both in accommodation and in general conditions of service. Much has since been done to alleviate the situation, but in the case of accommodation the problem will take a long time to overcome. Defence finance is necessarily limited; and with the wage bill alone accounting for over 60 percent of the annual vote, there is little left for capital works, whether re-equipment or accommodation. The amount at present is barely adequate to maintain our existing level of defence activity, let alone to rectify previous neglect or to prepare for future requirements. While we recognise that neglect in anyone sphere will ultimately affect the efficiency of our forces, we are acting at present as vigorously as possible to improve conditions of service before the re-equipment programme, now under consideration, begins to impose significant pressure on available funds. In particular, the service housing shortage is being combated with growing success on the basis of the 3-year programme introduced in 1973.

We cannot afford to provide a sufficient force of regular servicemen alone; hence the Government attaches great importance to the creation of an effective Territorial Force. It is now more than 2 years since the inception of the volunteer scheme, making it possible to reach some conclusions regarding its capacity to meet our requirements. I believe the scheme has been a success: recruitment continues to be steady; training intakes have been encouraging in their results; and the motivation of individual territorials is excellent. The attendance figures at annual camps have, however, been somewhat disappointing, though comparing favourably with the previous compulsory system. This remains perhaps the major problem to be solved at present. It is receiving considerable attention within the Ministry. As for the majority who did attend, I was much impressed during my visits to the camps by their refreshing enthusiasm, which was reflected, I am sure, in the higher standards achieved in the training programme.

In essence, the major problem we face with the Territorial scheme, as with defence in general, is one of community support. Without such support, reflected in the provision of adequate funds, our armed forces will decline in efficiency. Not only would their ability to assist the community in peacetime suffer; but also the risks our servicemen might face, should an emergency subsequently arise, would be enhanced. The Government’s objective, while aimed at avoiding such a situation, must necessarily be tailored to the cloth available-for it is the people who must fill the ranks of the Territorial Force and it is the people who must meet the bill for defence.
W. A. FRASER, Minister of Defence.


International Commitments

Five Power Defence Arrangements

New Zealand continues to give its support to the Five Power Defence Arrangements involving Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United Kingdom, which became effective in 1971. Although ostensibly a military arrangement, the partnership is primarily a political instrument, which aims at fostering co-operation and confidence in the area. By their participation, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom declare their support for the maintenance of stability, the preservation of national integrity and political independence of Malaysia and Singapore. The last report of this Ministry noted the decision of Australia to withdraw its ground forces from Singapore while retaining the two RAAF Mirage squadrons in Malaysia. As a result of the Australian decision, the United Kingdom and New Zealand agreed to co-operate in the provision of logistic support for each other in Singapore on an agency basis. In March the United Kingdom announced as part of its Defence Review that it would withdraw its forces based in Singapore by April 1976. The British Government restated that it remained committed to the Five Power Defence Arrangements. It also said that it would maintain a residual commitment to the Integrated Air Defence System. The United Kingdom decision has necessitated minor modification to the arrangements for support of the New Zealand Force South-east Asia and will create a situation in which New Zealand will be able to cooperate even more closely with Singapore and Malaysia.

It is Government’s view that the Five Power Arrangements continue to make a contribution to the stability of the region, notwithstanding the withdrawal of Australian ground forces and the intended United Kingdom withdrawal of forces from Singapore. Accordingly, New Zealand will continue in the meantime to maintain forces at approximately the present level in Singapore with adjustments to working and housing areas to take over the functions previously undertaken for us by the United Kingdom, and to achieve economies in administrative costs. The Government’s aims in continuing the presence are to help promote stability in the area, enhance New Zealand’s political and diplomatic influence in the region, and to assist the development of the armed forces of countries in the area. To this end the Prime Minister has stated that the force will remain while this is in the mutual interests of New Zealand on the one hand and Singapore and Malaysia on the other.


New Zealand continues to support the aims and objectives of the reorganised SEATO to assist the national security/development programmes of the regional member countries, Thailand and the Philippines.


The ANZUS Treaty, providing New Zealand with a guarantee of American and Australian assistance in the event of direct external attack, remains a key element in New Zealand’s defence policy. It is more than just a defence arrangement, however, being symbolic of a basic community of interests and outlook that extends into political and economic fields. The twenty-fourth ANZUS Council Meeting is due to take place in Washington on 24-25 April.

Co-operation in Defence Supply with Australia

Australian and New Zealand Defence Ministers and officials attended the third annual meeting in Canberra during April when the aims and objectives of the Memorandum of Understanding were reaffirmed. Working groups in Canberra and Wellington have been established to co-ordinate action and maintain maximum momentum between annual meetings. The groups meet regularly, at least every quarter.

The first of the 37 New Zealand manufactured CT4 Air Trainer aircraft for the RAAF was delivered in January. Further deliveries are being made as aircraft are completed.

Manufacture of Nomad aircraft components has continued and the four New Zealand firms who were engaged in the original contract have received further orders for work. A further five local companies will be given an opportunity to participate in the recently negotiated 2-year contracts. Details of contracts for the Ikara guided missile components have also been received and a number of New Zealand manufacturers have expressed interest in participation.

Arrangements have been made to repair and overhaul fuel dump valves in New Zealand for the RAN Skyhawk aircraft, and informal discussions have been undertaken concerning a similar arrangement for constant-speed drive units.

Mutual Assistance Programme


A company of 140 all ranks from the 6th Battalion Royal Malay Regiment commenced training in New Zealand for the period 7 March – 13 April 1975. The company trained with 2/1 RNZIR in the South Island and participated in an exercise conducted in Waiouru. Individual training was conducted in Army schools for 46 Malaysian students. Eight Royal Malaysian naval ratings have undertaken advanced radio and advanced signal courses at HMNZS Philomel during the year. RNZAF schools have provided training in physical education (eight Army personnel) and flying training (eight pilots) including one on a flying instructor’s course. The RNZAF has also deployed both New Zealand and Malaysian troops involved in joint exercises.


Three Singapore Navy midshipmen have been undergoing training in HMNZS Philomel and. sea-going units during the past year. One Singaporean pilot attended a flying instructor’s course with the RNZAF. Training in physical education was also given to Army personnel. Both the RNZAF and the RNZN continue to provide assistance to Singapore armed forces with loan personnel seconded as advisers and instructors.


Two officers of the Indonesian armed forces are currently attached to the Ministry for training in planning, programming, and budgetary techniques. Two naval officers are also attached to HMNZ Dockyard for training associated with the upkeep of ships and dockyard management. During the year teams of Indonesian officers have visited New Zealand to observe the planning of annual camps and to study defence-training methods with a view to establishing arrangements for possible courses and attachments of interest to the Indonesian armed forces.


Hydrographic Survey

During 1974 HMNZS Lachlan and the two surveying motor launches Takapu and Tarapunga completed the survey for chart NZ 51, between Doubtless Bay and Bay of Islands. Included in this coastal survey were large-scale surveys of Whangamumu, Whangaroa, and Mangonui Harbours, and the Cavalli Islands. Also concluded during this period were investigations of shoal reports in the Bay of Plenty, and a resurvey of part of the Hauraki Gulf which was previously dependent on lead-line surveys. After 25 years in continuous commission in New Zealand waters, Lachlan was paid off on 13 December.

In January the motor launch Paea was modified for surveying duties. With the other survey motor launches Takapu and Tarapunga, and utilising two of Lachlan’s surveying boats, it was tasked with resurveying the remaining areas in the northern Hauraki Gulf, including Kawau Island, which are still dependent on old Admiralty lead-line surveys.

The Hydrographic Office published the following new charts:

Approaches to Opua, Auckland Harbour, Tauranga Harbour with coastal series, Cape Brett to Cuvier Island, Mercury Bay to Mayor Island, Bream Tail to Kawau Island including Great Barrier Island. A new international edition was produced of New Zealand including Norfolk and Campbell Islands. A further 34 charts were revised and reprinted and the metrication of the New Zealand chart series is progressing. Forty thousand copies of weekly Notices to Mariners and 2200 copies of the Annual Summary were printed and distributed. A total of 50812 fully corrected charts and 3702 navigation books were issued for naval use or for resale through agents in New Zealand and overseas.

Fishery Protection

The Fishery Protection Squadron, consisting of the motor launches Kuparu, Koura, Paea, and Parore, has continued to patrol New Zealand’s east coast from North Cape to Stewart Island during the year. Paea was temporarily transferred to the hydrographic service in November on completion of refit. In addition to fishery protection duties, transport and logistic assistance has been provided when required to other Government departments by motor launches. These tasks were mainly to support wildlife surveys on offshore islands. On 23 February the first two new patrol craft, HMNZ ships Rotoiti and Pukaki were formally added to the Fishery Protection Squadron and have now commenced operational patrols.

Search and Rescue

A total of 450 hours was flown by RNZAF aircraft in support of search and rescue operations. Some 60 people were recovered safely in nearly 100 operations. A variety of incidents exercised all types of aircraft in service with the RNZAF. In particular, mountain rescues by Iroquois helicopters were numerous, and 10 major operations resulted in the safe recovery of 20 people. Four crewmen from a sunken keeler were also rescued by helicopter. RNZAF aircraft were instrumental in locating distressed vessels, thus enabling assistance to be given by other vessels. The RNZN also participated in SAR operations during the year. All three services actively support the Civil Defence Organisation.

Other Assistance to the Community

Assistance to the community has ranged from airborne surveillance of foreign fishing vessels to fire-fighting assistance; static and flying demonstrations; displays by service bands; medical assistance at road accidents; explosive ordnance disposal; assistance to schools, youth organisations and local government. The Naval Operational Diving Team has provided a rapid emergency service to the community and continues to evaluate new equipment on behalf of the New Zealand Police and other Government departments. Lectures and displays have been given to several underwater clubs and other organisations. Thirty-six men of the Merchant Navy have completed the special fire-fighting course at the Nuclear Biological and Chemical Defence School. Special RNZAF flights were mounted for tasks including the transport of emergency relief supplies and evacuees, navigational equipment, VIP.s and cultural groups to Bangladesh, Nepal, Thailand, South Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Noumea, Australia, Tonga, Rarotonga, Samoa, Niue Island, and Penrhyn Island.



Steady progress has been maintained in the Ministry on the production of the new rules of procedure, regulations, and orders, which, together with the Armed Forces Discipline Act it will establish a simple disciplinary code common to all three services. In order to speed up this process and the production of the complete disciplinary code, a full-time project officer was appointed towards the end of the year.

Conditions of Service

Notwithstanding the economic restraints which have precluded a comprehensive review of armed forces pay and service conditions, it has been possible to make some major changes, including the introduction of a working conditions allowance for certain RNZN engineering branch personnel, a revised pay scale for RNZAF airmen aircrew, and a new system for determining pay for officers commissioned from the ranks.

Work is well advanced on examining new terms of service, which will offer a career engagement for all ranks, which with associated revised terminal benefits, will encourage longer service and reduce manpower turnover.

The problems arising from family separation in the armed forces are well known, and although the introduction of tangible realistic compensation for enforced periods of family separation has been delayed, extensions of air-trooping concessions have to some extent alleviated the separation problems for unaccompanied married servicemen overseas.

Resettlement benefits were notably improved with the recent amendment to the Armed Forces Superannuation Scheme, which recognised the unique career pattern of the serviceman by providing for cost of living adjustments to retiring allowance 5 years after retirement, rather than after age 60. This provision will apply to personnel already retired in addition to those currently serving.

Re-establishment in Civil Life

The Defence Council has approved a substantial majority of the reports of the Advisory Committee on Civil Trade Qualifications, thus achieving the Government’s aim of giving proper recognition to trades and skills learned in the armed forces. Of the trades approved for incorporation into the Civil Trade Qualification Scheme, some have already been implemented, whilst others are being examined for amendments to the training syllabuses to ensure that the requirements of civil trade training are fully covered. Training will be so phased that servicemen will reach the required civil trade standards at a time to coincide with the taking of civil trade examinations. The reports remaining under consideration are those of the more complicated RNZAF and RNZN technical trades.

A number of service trades have civil equivalents that are not covered by formal civil examinations or certificates. Servicemen in these trades are to be issued with a “Defence Trade Certificate” that will show a prospective employer the skill and experience of the serviceman in his particular trade. Liaison is being maintained with the civil trade authorities to ensure the services are aware of changes in trade structure.


Planning, Programming, and Budgeting

As part of the Ministry’s overall resource management system and in parallel with Government planning, the Ministry has developed a system of planning, programming, and budgeting which provides for a methodical approach to the problem of determining future defence requirements as well as facilitating the centralised planning, analysis, and evaluation of defence policy as an aid to Government decisions. The rolling 5-year integrated defence programme which is a central element of this system now displays a comprehensive statement of all the Ministry’s programme objectives and the financial, manpower, and material resources needed to achieve these, and also provides an important vehicle within the Ministry for further studies, analyses, and decisions in respect to resource allocation.

The restructuring of defence activities into a number of programmes as reflected in Vote Defence, Schedule C, of the Estimates will continue to be refined in parallel with the development of accounting and management information systems.

The management benefits to be gained from this systematic approach to resource planning, allocation, and management are already being reflected, particularly in the complex problems which arise in harmonising the rising costs of manpower and material with the level of allocation and the additional restraints on overseas expenditure.

Electronic Data Processing

The approved enhancement of the Defence computer is virtually completed and has already relieved the pressure arising from rapidly increasing workloads. Sufficient capacity is now available to effect necessary changes to technical operating standards, in order to meet the Ministry’s continuing requirements for more comprehensive management information systems.

New Defence Building

Work has continued on the Freyberg Building, which is stage1 of this project. The tower block to accommodate the “non-secure” elements of the Ministry is now under construction on the site within Mulgrave, Pipitea, and Aitken Streets in the Government Centre. This stage is scheduled to be completed during 1977.


Joint Exercises

The annual submarine and weapon training exercise AUCKEX 74 was held during October-November. HMNZS Waikato took part together with RAN and United States naval ships and submarines. RNZAF aircraft also participated and provided target-towing facilities. A joint maritime exercise MAREX 74 was held in mid November. Six ships and submarines from New Zealand, Australia, and the United States, together with aircraft from New Zealand and the United Kingdom, participated. In June a Regular Force rifle company and a small logistic intelligence element totalling 163 all ranks, together with units from the RNZAF and the RNZN, deployed to Australia to participate in Exercise KANGAROO I, a joint service, multi-national exercise under ANZUS sponsorship. RNZAF and RNZN units also participated in joint maritime exercises with other nations’ forces in Hawaii, South-east Asia, and Australia. These exercises once again proved the ability of New Zealand personnel, ships, and aircraft to work efficiently with those of other nations. They also provided necessary experience in the anti-submarine warfare role, as well as enabling personnel to up-date knowledge of latest techniques and procedures.


HMNZS Canterbury completed her refit in May and recommissioned in July. In September she deployed to Pearl Harbour for operational training with the United States Navy Fleet Training Group, followed by a period of attachment to the USN. En route to Hawaii, stores and personnel were landed at Raoul Island.

HMNZS Waikato between March and August was deployed overseas on assignment to New Zealand Force South-east Asia, Singapore. Visits were paid to Papua New Guinea and New Britain whilst on passage to Singapore. She returned to New Zealand via north and eastern Australia in time to participate in exercises AUCKEX and MAREX 74 held in the Auckland area.

HMNZS Otago returned from assignment to New Zealand Force South-east Asia in April via Indonesia and Western Australia. A New Zealand cruise was undertaken in May and the ship was employed as a training ship up to the commencement of the second long refit in July, scheduled for completion late in 1975.

HMNZS Taranaki has been extensively deployed during the year. The ship departed New Zealand in late May and returned to Auckland in early December. During this period, Taranaki worked-up with the RAN Fleet Training Group participated in JUCEX 93, subsequently deploying via Western Australia and Indonesia for assignment to New Zealand Force South-east Asia. Since returning to New Zealand she has completed a routine maintenance period.

HMNZS Tui has been employed in support of the Defence Scientific Establishment and Auckland University research programmes. The areas covered ranged from south Fiji to the New Zealand coast and Tasman Sea. Tui visited Niue to participate in the celebrations held to mark the island’s attainment of self-government. The ship was granted the freedom of the city of Napier in August.

HMNZS lnverell has continued to carry out her dual roles of fishery protection and training throughout the year. In addition to transporting scientific parties to the Chatham and Snares Islands, lnverell stood by to assist the attempted salvage and disposal of floating debris of M.V. Union East.

HMNZS Kiama is in operational reserve at Auckland.

Training in New Zealand NAVY

Thirty-three RNZN midshipmen were under training at HMNZS Tamaki during the year. One General List officer completed the requirements for a degree at Auckland University and is now undergoing professional training. Thirteen junior officers entered the RNZN in January to commence training in HMNZS Tamaki and a total of 66 apprentices are currently undergoing training. A total of 465 new entry ratings for all branches completed their basic common training in HMNZS Tamaki and 2461 personnel were given continuation training in 261 separate courses in HMNZS Philomel. These included 147 officers, 9 Army, 7 Police, 8 Royal Malaysian Navy, 7 RNZAF, and 43 civilians. The increasing importance and complexity of naval training has required the setting up of a specialised naval training group in the Auckland Command during 1975-76.


The four RNZNVR divisions continue to fulfil their training commitments and to support local search and rescue requirements. The annual RNZNVR training exercise RESERVEX 75 was held in the Bay of Islands area in January. Motor launches from the four RNZNVR divisions participated together with HMNZS Inverell.

Civilian Staff

The numbers of permanent and temporary staff and casual civilian workers employed in the Ministry as at 31 March 1975 is shown in table 1 of this report. Generally, there has been an encouraging response to recruitment advertising during the year allowing the Ministry to build up to a more satisfactory staffing level in most establishments. HMNZ Dockyard is, however, still finding it difficult to recruit some specialists and trades staff to maintain reasonable progress in the long refit programme for HMNZ ships. Because of the present financial climate, the decision has been taken to defer any further recruitment of Dockyard staff from overseas meantime. The reduction of 100 in the overall civilian staff ceiling for 1974-75 prevented the Ministry from taking full advantage of the improved recruiting situation towards the end of this year and many established posts remain vacant.


Capital Equipment

Construction of the four 1O7-ft patrol craft at Lowestoft yard of Brooke Marine Ltd. is complete. The first two craft have been delivered to New Zealand and are now in operational service; the second two are due to be delivered in June. Tenders have closed for the conversion of M.V. Moana Roa, now HMNZS Monowai, to a survey ship and are being examined prior to finalisation of a contract. It is planned that Monowai should complete conversion between August and October 1976.

Technical Services

Despite an acute shortage of labour, HMNZ Dockyard has continued to carry out its major functions of refitting and repairing ships of the RNZN fleet, providing support to operational ships, and undertaking the repair and manufacture of naval stores. Major ship refitting work during the year included a 16-week “normal” refit for HMNZS Canterbury; a 12-week refit for HMNZS Inverell, and an extended 7-week assisted maintenance period for HMNZS Taranaki. The most important refitting task undertaken during the year was the “long” refit of HMNZS Otago, which started in July 1974 and is planned for completion in late 1975 subject to manpower availability. Refitting and routine slipping of SDML’s of the Fishery Protection Squadron, the Reserve Divisions, and survey vessels has been carried out in the boat shop in addition to work for other Defence organisations and Government departments. Major work in this latter category included the restructuring of the bridge of the Police launch Deodar; the building of a replacement steel pontoon for the RNZAF (Hobsonville), and the refitting of the Ministry of Works and Development tender Meola. The Fleet Maintenance Unit has continued to provide assistance in operational defect rectification to all sea-going units of the RNZN and to visiting ships of allied navies, both in Auckland and throughout New Zealand. Assistance has also been given to shore establishments in the Auckland Command.