Feilding - Rangitikei Herald

Columns
Thursday, August 25, 2016

Our region, and the Rangitikei in particular, has the highest concentration of defence facilities and personnel in New Zealand.

That's why I am particularly excited about the $1.7 billion rejuvenation of defence buildings, infrastructure and facilities, which was announced by Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee last week.

It's great news for our armed forces and great for our region as amongst other things it will provide a significant economic stimulus.

The total defence estate comprises 81,000 hectares and includes around 5000 buildings.

It is currently valued at $4.3b.

However, work is required to make it fit for purpose and to enable it to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Many of the 5000 buildings on defence land are old and need to be modernised.

New, fit-for-purpose facilities are required to cater for current and future capabilities.

Over the next 15 years there will be a large amount of investment, resulting in better working conditions for personnel and an estate better able to support current and future military operations.

The plans follow the direction of the 2016 Defence White Paper.

The NZDF will not be closing any of its main camps and bases or large training areas as part of this upgrade.

To start with, investment will be directed towards health, safety and compliance measures, as well as recapitalisation works such as starting to replace old, outdated barracks with modern facilities.

The estate regeneration programme signals 104 projects over the next five years including replacing buildings, upgrading utilities, new barracks, new SECURE THE BEST IN AGED RESIDENTIAL CAR Independent living, two bedroom units One & two bedroom Residential Care Apartments within main centre Specialist Dementia level care Hospital level care ds today and into the futu h Street, Feilding mail admin@ranfurlyrcc.co.n o.nz Fax (06) 323 2929 fering all levels of Aged Care in one centre headquarter buildings, workshops upgrades and new logistics facilities.

There is flexibility in the plan to allow for new projects as decisions are made about future capability requirements.

At Waiouru plans include a mounting base headquarters and a communications and control centre.

Units from different areas will meet and train at the mounting base before deploying on operations.

This will certainly strengthen the operations at Waiouru and ensure the base has a good future.

At Linton plans include a central 'hub' and camp headquarters with the operational units to be consolidated in adjacent precincts. While at Ohakea, projects include flight line fencing, a covered refuelling area, logistics warehouse and the replacement of a taxiway.

The Defence Estate regeneration plan will certainly benefit the thousands of men and women in our region who work for the armed forces.

It will also provide a welcome boost to our economy, which is great for everyone.