Auckland naval base relocation unlikely

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Relocating Auckland's Devonport Naval Base appears an unlikely outcome of a feasibility study recently initiated by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).

Although the scope of the study is to review "all future options for basing", a NZDF spokesperson said, "few of New Zealand's ports appear to be genuinely feasible alternatives to Devonport".

"Moving any part of the navy is not currently government policy," said the spokesperson.

"Although, a long-term strategy for the navy may include a secondary location for the mounting of maritime operations.

"Any decisions, however, are months and perhaps years in the future."

Previous reviews have determined there were no specific operational drivers at those times that outweighed the expense of relocating.

It is understood the navy intends to continue maintaining the HMNZS Toroa (the Royal New Zealand Navy Reserve unit) in Dunedin and to use southern New Zealand ports when conducting patrols in the Southern Ocean.

"The navy fully appreciates the advantages of being able to operate from Port Chalmers and Bluff. The navy's use of these two ports when operating with the Ministry for Primary Industries and assisting the Department of Conservation with its work clearly enhance the navy's effectiveness."

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