Part 2: Organisational roles and resources

Effectiveness of arrangements for co-ordinating civilian maritime patrols.

In this Part, we provide background information on the roles of the NMCC and the other interested organisations. We also discuss projects for improving patrol capability. We focus on:

The role of the National Maritime Co-ordination Centre

According to a governance framework document5 produced in 2006 (the Governance Framework), the NMCC's main purposes are to:

  • support the effective and efficient use of New Zealand's maritime patrol and surveillance assets for civilian purposes;
  • contribute to maritime domain awareness in relation to the risks in the maritime environment that could impact on the sovereignty, security, safety, economy, environment or foreign policy interests of New Zealand; and
  • support and facilitate the effective use and accessibility of maritime information from multiple sources (both open and classified) that supports the core business of government agencies.

The NMCC's functions are to:

  • co-ordinate the provision of a maritime picture to participating agencies;
  • co-ordinate tasking of available maritime patrol assets, using a transparent process for the planning and prioritisation of asset tasking; and
  • identify policy gaps and related issues with respect to effective maritime patrol. 6

The NMCC exists to support the effective use of aircraft and ships for the purposes of carrying out civilian maritime patrols. It co-ordinates access to aircraft and ships for a variety of government agencies. It is responsible for prioritising the use of those aircraft and ships from a national perspective. In doing this, the NMCC works with NZDF and mostly with the core agencies, whose roles are described in Figure 1.

As well as matching patrol requests with available aircraft and ships, the NMCC has an important role in supplying government agencies with information on the maritime domain.

Figure 1
Roles of the National Maritime Co-ordination Centre, the New Zealand Defence Force, and the core agencies

National Maritime Co-ordination Centre Co-ordinates civilian maritime patrols.

Collates and provides information on the maritime domain.
New Zealand Defence Force* Provides patrol ships and aircraft.

Decides how patrol time (aerial patrol hours or sea days) is allocated for civilian maritime patrols.

Contributes to regional and global security using maritime patrols.
New Zealand Customs Service Uses maritime patrols to detect and gather information on customs infringements and risks, and to provide deterrence.

Provides information on maritime patrol needs.

Can provide vessels for maritime patrols, largely for coastal purposes (inshore/harbours).

Host agency for the National Maritime Co-ordination Centre.
Ministry of Fisheries Uses maritime patrols to gather information on fishing activities.

Provides information on maritime patrol needs.
Department of Conservation Uses maritime patrols to re-supply its bases on remote islands, for enforcement activity in marine reserves, and for conservation programmes covering sea birds and marine mammal species.

Provides information on maritime patrol needs.

Can provide vessels for maritime patrols, largely for coastal purposes (inshore/harbours).
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Uses maritime patrols to fulfil regional obligations for Pacific region patrols and patrols in the Southern Ocean for foreign policy and resource protection interests.

Provides information on maritime patrol needs.
New Zealand Police Uses maritime patrols to support search and rescue operations, and for occasional police operations.

Provides information on maritime patrol needs.

Can provide vessels for maritime patrols, mostly for coastal purposes (inshore/harbours).
Maritime New Zealand Uses maritime patrols in fulfilling responsibilities for marine environmental protection, maritime safety, maritime security, and search and rescue.

Provides information on maritime patrol needs.

* Royal New Zealand Air Force and Royal New Zealand Navy.

The NMCC does not decide on risks or patrol needs for government agencies. It does not own any ships or aircraft, or any information that is collected during maritime patrols.

The NMCC has a small staff, comprising:

  • a manager;
  • an operations manager;
  • two operations officers; and
  • an executive assistant.

The New Zealand Customs Service, the Ministry of Fisheries, and NZDF have liaison officers that form an important contact point between these agencies and the NMCC.

Current governance arrangements

The NMCC's current operating model was approved by Cabinet in December 2006. The NMCC is an operationally independent unit hosted by the New Zealand Customs Service and located at NZDF Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand in Upper Hutt. Appendix 2 describes how the NMCC was established and its earlier governance arrangements.

For the NMCC, "operationally independent" refers to the way in which it carries out its functions of co-ordinating patrols, gathering and providing information about the maritime domain, and identifying policy gaps and issues. It must carry out these functions from a whole-of-government perspective and in the interests of civilian government agencies. The chief executive of the NMCC's host agency – the New Zealand Customs Service – is formally accountable for the NMCC's outcomes and performance.7

Figure 2 outlines the accountability relationships for the NMCC. Solid lines denote the formal accountability relationship. Dotted lines denote groups that have an interest in the NMCC. These relationships are explained in paragraphs 2.12-2.15.

Figure 2
The National Maritime Co-ordination Centre's accountability relationships

Figure 2: The National Maritime Co-ordination Centre’s accountability relationships

Adapted from the NMCC's Governance Framework.

* Officials Committee for Domestic and External Security Co-ordination.

** Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand.

As the host agency, the New Zealand Customs Service is responsible for the NMCC's performance and how it carries out its functions. The NMCC is funded through Vote Customs and the host agency role involves making business cases for increased funding to operate the NMCC. The host agency does this on behalf of government agencies.

The National Maritime Co-ordination Centre Working Group (the NMCC Working Group) contributes to the NMCC's work, and acts as a forum for discussing issues affecting the NMCC's governance and operations. It is designed to provide a multi-agency resource for producing standards and addressing issues that affect day-to-day operations. (For example, the NMCC Working Group was involved in producing a new patrol planning system). In practice, the NMCC Working Group is a useful "check and balance" on the NMCC's work and it contributes a whole-of-government perspective. The NMCC's manager chairs the NMCC Working Group and members include staff from the core agencies. Staff from other interested organisations, such as the DPMC, can also be members. The NMCC Working Group meets on an "as needed" basis.

The National Maritime Co-ordination Centre Reference Group (NMCC Reference Group) provides a forum for discussing strategic issues and trends relevant to the NMCC. The NMCC Reference Group is chaired by the Comptroller of Customs (as the chief executive of the host agency). Other members include chief executives of the core agencies and of the DPMC, as well as the Chief of Defence Force. The group meets annually and allows the New Zealand Customs Service, as the host agency, to consult at a senior level with other interested organisations.

The Officials Committee for Domestic and External Security Co-ordination (ODESC) has policy oversight for security matters, including maritime security, and therefore has an interest in the NMCC. ODESC is a committee of government officials that provides strategic policy advice to the Prime Minister.

Providers of maritime patrol aircraft and ships

NZDF is the main provider of the aircraft and ships used in patrols because its aircraft and ships can operate in the difficult weather conditions and long distances that are a feature of our maritime domain. NZDF decides how much patrol time is allocated for civilian purposes.

There has been significant investment in improving NZDF's patrol capability. Figure 3 describes the background to projects aimed at improving patrol capability.

Figure 3
Background to projects for improving maritime patrol capability

Maritime Patrol Review conclusions on patrol capability

The 2001 Maritime Patrol Review considered New Zealand's civilian and military requirements for patrolling its oceans. The review concluded that:
  • aerial patrol in support of customs and fisheries work was patchy, poorly co-ordinated, and not occurring frequently enough to contribute to effective surveillance or deterrence; and
  • for sea patrol, there was very little routine surveillance carried out around New Zealand and that the Royal New Zealand Navy did not have ships appropriate for this task.
To address this situation, the review report made several recommendations about maritime patrol capability. These included that the capacity of surface maritime patrol be developed and the capacity of long-range air maritime patrol be maintained. This led to projects for upgrading existing resources, and acquiring new NZDF resources to improve patrol capability.
Acquiring ships and upgrading aircraft

In April 2001, Cabinet agreed that a study be completed to identify the optimum mix of ships for the surface fleet, taking into consideration civilian requirements for coastal and mid-range offshore patrol capabilities. The Maritime Forces Review was carried out in January 2002. Subsequently, Project Protector was initiated to acquire seven ships, consisting of a multi-role ship, two offshore patrol ships, and four inshore patrol ships.

Cabinet also agreed that the long-range air patrol capability (six P-3K Orion aircraft) was to be retained and upgraded to meet civilian requirements, to provide a contingent military capability against surface targets, and to contribute to the Government's foreign and security policy objectives in the South Pacific and the Asia-Pacific region.
Delays in project delivery

There were delays in both projects. Initially, the last Protector ship was planned to be accepted by December 2007. This slipped to April 2010 (when the last offshore patrol ship is scheduled for delivery) because of delays in design, construction, and testing of the various ships. The P-3K Orions were scheduled to be upgraded by the end of 2010. There were difficulties with the prototype aircraft and completion is now expected by the second half of 2012.

These projects have affected NZDF's ability to provide suitable aircraft and ships for civilian maritime patrols. Maritime patrol capability has been reduced as aircraft are phased in and out of service for upgrade work, and because of delays in delivery of the Project Protector ships.

Aerial maritime patrol capability

The Government has budgeted to spend about $168 million8 in 2009/10 on aerial maritime patrol forces (for military and civilian patrols of New Zealand's EEZ, the Pacific region, and the Southern Ocean). Activities include:

  • maritime surveillance and reconnaissance;
  • EEZ patrols;
  • anti-submarine warfare;
  • anti-surface unit warfare; and
  • search and rescue missions.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) has a fleet of six P-3K Orion aircraft to provide these patrol services. NZDF allocates about 2500 hours a year for these patrol activities. Of these 2500 hours, 720 hours are planned for supporting government agencies' civilian patrol needs (note: planned flying hours are a guide rather than a target). Of these 720 hours, about 400 hours are made available for patrols in New Zealand's EEZ, and about 320 flying hours are planned to provide civilian maritime patrols in the Pacific region.

Surface maritime patrol capability

The Government has budgeted to spend about $109 million9 on naval patrol forces in 2009/10. This spending covers both military and civilian patrols. More specifically, it provides for offshore and inshore patrol ships able to conduct maritime operations in support of other government organisations and for the security and protection of the EEZ. To meet these needs, between 438 and 518 sea days were planned for the inshore patrol ships and between 93 and 113 sea days for the offshore patrol ships – when these came into service. The offshore patrol ships are expected to conduct sovereignty and resource protection operations in the Southern Ocean, the South Pacific region, and further afield when directed.

Once the inshore patrol and offshore patrol ships are in service and available for operations, NZDF expects each ship to provide around 140 sea days a year (a total of 840 sea days) to cater for civilian patrol requirements, military tasking, and training.

Other maritime patrol capability

The NMCC can assign any government agency's vessels to patrolling tasks if the vessels are available. Usually, however, the vessels are not appropriate for maritime patrols because they cannot operate in difficult weather conditions and over long distances.

5: National Maritime Co-ordination Centre (2006), National Maritime Co-ordination Centre Governance Framework, Wellington, page 10.

6: National Maritime Co-ordination Centre (2006), National Maritime Co-ordination Centre Governance Framework, Wellington, page 10.

7: National Maritime Co-ordination Centre (2006), National Maritime Co-ordination Centre Governance Framework, Wellington.

8: This figure includes NZDF costs for training and military readiness activities. These activities are necessary for NZDF to maintain levels of capability expected by the Government.

9: The figure includes NZDF costs for training and military readiness activities. These activities are necessary for NZDF to maintain levels of capability expected by the Government.

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