Where Boris goes, we go – govt deployment to help Ukraine is agreed in response to UK request for logistical support

“NZ troops to  help Ukraine”  blared the   headline on the Dominion-Post’s  front page this morning.  Full  marks   for phrasing  it  so  delicately.

The Ardern  government, which  only  last  week  appeared  to   be  stepping  back from  considering  what it  called  “lethal aid”  to  war-torn Ukraine, reversed  that  stand on  Monday.  Now  it is  dispatching  one  of  its     Hercules  to  Europe with  around 50 service  personnel.

Cabinet  looked  at  sending a  contingent  of  LAVs,   and  also Javelin  missile launchers, but  set  those  aside.

Announcing  the  deployment, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern  said:

“Our support is to assist the Ukraine Army to repel a brutal Russian invasion because peace in the region of Europe is essential for global stability.Such a blatant attack on a country’s sovereignty is a threat to all of us and that’s why we too have a role to play.

“The global response has seen an unprecedented amount of military support pledged for Ukraine, and more help to transport and distribute it is urgently needed, and so we will do our bit to help.”

The measures decided by Cabinet include:

  • The deployment of an NZDF C-130H Hercules transport aircraft and 50 support personnel to Europe – for two months
  • A further NZDF 8-person team logistic specialists to support the international donor coordination centre in Germany with the flow of aid and supplies to Ukraine
  • An extra $13.1 million, towards military and legal and human rights support, including:

o   $7.5m to contribute to weapons and ammunition procurement by the United Kingdom

o   $4.1m to support commercial satellite access for the Ukrainian Defence Intelligence

o   $1m to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

o   $500,000 for the International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court

The PM said:

“Our support to date has been comprehensive and covers every aspect of this conflict – humanitarian, legal, military, transportation, and people – and is in addition to the economic and trade sanctions we have put in place to help cripple the Russian economy.

Over the next two months, our C-130 will join a chain of military aircraft from partner nations, travelling throughout Europe carrying much-needed equipment and supplies to key distribution centres, but at no point will they enter Ukraine, nor have they been asked to.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a violation of international law, which is why we are supporting the International Criminal Court in their investigations to hold Russia to account.

“We will continue to answer to the calls of Ukraine, with regular reviews of how we can keep making the greatest difference,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Defence Minister Peeni Henare said he was pleased New Zealand could offer the additional measures to both support our partners and Ukraine.

“These measures today follow decisions in recent weeks by the Government to help support Ukraine, including the supply of a range of defence equipment requested by Ukraine, and the deployment of nine defence intelligence and liaison personnel.

“Over the next few months, our team will travel throughout Europe transporting much-needed equipment and supplies to key distribution centres, but at no point will they enter Ukraine. The Hercules is set to go on Wednesday.

“This deployment is in response to a direct ask by the UK, which identified that New Zealand could play a tangible role in supporting what has become an enormous logistical task,”  Henare said.

This part of his statement reminds us of what Prime Minister Michael Savage said after New Zealand declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939:

Both with gratitude for the past and confidence in the future, we range ourselves without fear beside Britain. Where she goes, we go. Where she stands, we stand. We are only a small and young nation, but we are one and all a band of brothers and we march forward with union of hearts and wills to a common destiny.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta said Cabinet’s decisions were a further demonstration of New Zealand’s commitment to broader international efforts to support Ukraine.

“This package is a substantial further extension of what is already New Zealand’s most significant response to an international crisis in recent history. Supporting Ukraine’s self-defence is at a critical inflection point as we continue to respond to Ukraine’s broad range of needs and those of its people; be they military, economic, humanitarian or supporting legal international frameworks.

“We also continue work at pace to continue rolling out sanctions and target those associated with Russia’s egregious actions,” Mahuta said.

The announcement brings New Zealand’s total contribution to the Ukraine to $30 million and 67 people deployed.

Point  of  Order believes  most  New  Zealanders  will   back  this deployment.  The  images  of  Russia’s  onslaught on   Ukraine’s  cities  and  towns  have  been  horrifying   and  stirred  those   who thought  NZ  could  leave  it  to others to assist  Ukraine.

What may have  dismayed others   is  the  limited  resources NZ   could  call on  to  provide  a  significant  contribution  to the  Ukrainian  resistance.  Apparently  NZ  has  only  12  Javelin  missile  launchers, and  whether  the  LAVs  are  suitable  for  deployment   is  uncertain.

Given   that  both  Ardern  and   Mahuta  last  week  were expressing  reluctance to supplying “lethal aid”,  there seems to have been a  significant  shift in Cabinet  sentiment.

Maybe  it  will  extend  to a more  realistic  appraisal  of  what NZ’s  armed  forces   need in   the shape  of  modern equipment.

Admittedly  such  equipment does  not come cheaply.  A Javelin missile, a  modern successor  to the  Bazooka,  costs  around $US1m.

Point of  Order cannot  even  guess what  a Switchblade portable launcher  might cost – but  we  would  all feel  safer   if  there were a  few  hundred  on  hand somewhere  in NZ.

One thought on “Where Boris goes, we go – govt deployment to help Ukraine is agreed in response to UK request for logistical support

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.