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Monday, April 09, 2007

New Zealand Defence Minister flies into Honiara today to chat with NZDF personnel in Solomon Islands

Defence Minister Phil Goff will fly by Air Force C-130 Hercules to Honiara today with a team of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) cargo handling specialists deployed to assist the tsunami relief effort in the Solomon Islands. He will return to New Zealand on the aircraft tomorrow night.

"The flight is in response to a request from the Solomon Island's government for an air loading team (ALT) to provide assistance with managing and handling the large volume of relief supplies arriving at Honiara", said Mr Goff.

"The ALT will be a key asset to enable relief supplies to be quickly and efficiently distributed. Their work is likely to involve breaking down pallets of supplies from larger military and civil aircraft and repacking the material into smaller loads. These will then be reloaded onto smaller military/civilian aircraft and freighted to the airfields in the areas affected.

"The eight person team is made up of six Air Force air load specialists and two Army loadmasters. The team will take a forklift and freight pellets to Honiara to assist in their work and they will be based there for the duration of the deployment.

"While in Honiara, I will meet with NZDF personnel involved in the relief operations and also those territorial and regular force members of the New Zealand Army who were deployed to RAMSI last week", said Mr Goff.

Source: GCU

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