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April 6, 2004

New Zealand navy project makes progress

Project Protector, a NZ$500 million (US$325.5 million) project to provide the Royal New Zealand Navy with new purpose built vessels, has reached a significant milestone.

In previous statements the New Zealand Government has said the project would include two 35 m inshore patrol ships, two 85 m offshore patrol ships and a 130 m multi-role ship. Yesterday, New Zealan Minister of Defence Mark Burton announced that Australia's Tenix Defence Pty Ltd has been chosen as the preferred tenderer for the new vessels, with Damen Schelde ADI as second preference to provide the multi-role vessel.

Tenix has a shipyard in Whangarei, New Zealand. It is unclear how much of the project would be performed there.

"Project Protector will provide New Zealand's Navy and civilian agencies with a multi-role vessel (MRV), capable of undertaking such tasks as tactical sealift and disaster relief in the Pacific, and patrol vessels to meet our inshore and offshore requirements," said the Minister.

"These ships will allow the Navy to patrol our EEZ more effectively, working in partnership with other agencies such as Fisheries and Customs, in their task of protecting our borders—one of the most important security roles in today's global environment.

"Tenix's bid meets Defence and civilian agency requirements, offers the best operational capability and the lowest risk, gives the best through life support, and is affordable within the approved budget.

"It's also pleasing that Tenix's bid will provide very significant local and domestic industry involvement, which will support real jobs locally and generate benefits to a wide range of New Zealand and Australian companies. Tenix has been involved with the Anzac frigate project for 12 years, which has delivered considerable economic benefits to New Zealand. Project Protector will offer the opportunity for continuing economic flow-through."

Project Protector fleet requirements were outlined in the 2002 Maritime Forces Review, conducted by the Ministry of Defence, working in close cooperation with a number of other agencies to identify their requirements for surface patrol. This involved extensive work with MFAT, the Ministry of Fisheries, Customs, Treasury, the Maritime Safety Authority, and Police, among others.

The review detailed the need for sealift capability, inshore and offshore patrol matched to New Zealand's demanding maritime environments, and the ability to conduct at-sea Naval training. All the vessels purchased under Project Protector will be designed and purpose built to meet these needs.

The Ministry of Defence will now enter into contract negotiations to finalize options for fleet composition and an Offer Definition Process to clarify technical matters with Tenix prior to final confirmation of the multi-role vessel supplier. At the conclusion of contract negotiations, the Minister of Defence will take a final proposal to Cabinet for approval.

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