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Royal New Zealand Navy Discussions and Updates

Discussion in 'Navy & Maritime' started by Padman, May 16, 2006.

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  1. Novascotiaboy

    Novascotiaboy Member

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    If Shakespeare Bay were to be chosen as a location to relocate the primary naval base would the plan be to infill the head of the bay around to the existing terminal?

    Would it be more feasable to have a large floating drydock instead of an in ground drydock?

    Just wondering if the previous reports on a possible move were available online.
     
  2. Ocean1Curse

    Ocean1Curse Member

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    If RNZN did move it's dry dock facilities I would recommend it be able to accept, oh I don't know, a vessel about 230.82 metres (757.3 ft) long overall, with a maximum beam of 32 metres (105 ft), and a maximum draught of 7.08 metres (23.2 ft). Not sure a floating dock could do that in all weather. When the heat is on, we won't be the only ones using a future dry dock. We'll have a multitude of allies to accommodate as well.
     
  3. Novascotiaboy

    Novascotiaboy Member

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    There was talk of a floating drydock for commercial repairs for Shakespeare Bay but I havent seen anything recently. I wonder if the commercial interests could become partners with NZDF in constructing a new joint use facilty.
     
  4. MrConservative

    MrConservative Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Moving the navy to Whangārei would bring millions to the district

    If Devonport is going to be moved it is far more likely to be Whangarei than Picton. There is good old fashioned pork barrel politics in this and a trade off in the current Port of Auckland relocation.

    The DPM Winston Peters and his NZ First Party wants the Port of Auckland to move to Northland, but the best future site (and cheapest in terms of infrastructure) for the new commercial port is in the Firth of Thames at Matingarahi Point. The thinking is that the political trade off would see the Navy going to Whangarei and with second smaller South Island port like Dunedin or Lyttleton to support Southern Ocean operations.
     
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  5. chis73

    chis73 Member

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    I came across this article from last year on the same topic (link). I have to agree with it's conclusions - there is absolutely no way Devonport will be moving. There are something like 2000 naval personnel based there (most of them with partners or families) plus all the civilian support workers at the dockyard (eg Babcocks). I suspect you would break the navy if you tried to move them (most would more likely leave the navy than move - especially if it was to Whangarei or Picton). Some unkind souls might say that the navy is pretty well already broken in that they only have 8 ships for the next 2 years and 4 of those are IPVs. Then there are the costs. Where would somewhere like Whangarei or Picton house 2000 extra families. Then there is the new infrastructure to be built - easily billions. The costs would make even the most bellicose politician choke on their sausage roll.

    What there might be scope to do is to build an additional smaller secondary base somewhere. NZ desperately needs a larger drydock (as noted by a previous poster), something that could service the larger ferries, HMNZS Canterbury & the upcoming HMNZS Aotearoa. In order to provide work for partners etc I would say it would have to be in a major city rather than a regional town (so that probably eliminates Picton, New Plymouth, Bluff, Timaru & Whangarei). Tauranga & Napier/Hastings might be possible. I would suggest Wellington as a first choice (best harbour? and already has the ferries based there). Maybe Dunedin and Lyttelton after that.

    A possible organisation might be to operate part of the patrol fleet / coastal fleet (OPVs and IPVs), and perhaps any future Southern Ocean patrol vessel. Perhaps a separate Coastguard-like command (as the Norwegian navy has for example)
     
  6. MrConservative

    MrConservative Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Chis - it is not as easy as saying absolutely no way. I understand the sentiments and the nostalgia of DNB in Auckland as a former Shore resident with family connections to Devonport. However, there are a number of considerations in all of this that are lying in the background. Firstly DNB will still be there in 10 years so this is all quite long term.

    Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei are the key in all of this. They want the "their" Devonport land for development and already have 31Ha back under their control on which there are 350 dwellings leased to the Navy. They also want the remaining 11Ha off the Crown through the Treaty settlement process. If the GOTD wants to stay at DNB they will have to pay market value to buy it back or lease it back and that has been made clear to them by Iwi. Also in the trade off their are more complexities such as relocation of the future POA that involve further Iwi interests. Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and Hauraki Iwi on the preferred Matingarahi Point location have skin in that game plus the fact Tainui have strategically hovered up tracks of land around Maramarua south of the Hunua's for a further inland port once Matingarahi goes ahead (which they are lobbying for). Plus the NZ First factor - the opportunity cost of not getting POA to relocate north will be a political push by them to get the Navy relocated - they will not want to be seen as appearing empty handed to the North with respect to the local port and regional development. Even if it is a vanity project.

    There are a lot less than 2000 at DNB - the all up figure is around 1500 for Naval staff, civilians and contractors on base full-time. Not all the 2200 RNZN staff are at DNB. But yes it is considerable. It wont happen overnight - any change would be signalled a decade ahead.

    The lease agreement with the Navy between Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei over naval housing may get rolled over but it is likely to be quite short (shorter than the current 15 years). Besides the majority of people working on the base don't live there but in cheaper parts of the North Shore such as Birkdale, Glenfield or Albany - which are often over an hour away by car. The average house price locally around DNB is over $2m. If the GOTD wanted to buy / lease back off Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei their future residential development dwellings then they would be paying a premium. If they wont or cannot pay that price then those 350 dwellings are gone locally for them. That would also bring into question future investment of building more barracks at Philomel to make up the shortfall and whether they would be allowed to by either council or the likely future leasor - Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.

    Either way it is going to cost the Govt considerable investment to both stay (which has its own uncertainties - Iwi, lease contracts, climate change, Marpol regs, Auckland Council LTUP's, housing requirements, ability to accommodate larger vessels in the future et al) and alternatively moving to a greenfields location.

    I agree that Picton could not cope with 1000 extra dwellings but Whangarei has plenty of capacity to soak that up to the South of the city and out at Ruakaka. Will the Navy still be at DNB in 2035? Possibly, but the odds are slowly shrinking over time.

    There are conflicting needs if their was to be a separate Coastguard-like command like a NZ Border Protection service. MPI and Customs have two varying areas of significant interest. Would probably need two bases one in the north and one in the south for such a unit.
     
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  7. Lucasnz

    Lucasnz Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    Thanks for that Mr C. Throws a very different perspective to the whole basing question.

    Setting aside the diminishing capability of the dry dock; another driving factor is the water depth at DNB. Chart NZ5322 show available water at all times is at most 12 metres (at the outer wharf), whereas the Calliope Wharf outer alongside shows a depth of 8.1 metres, while the inner wharves are around 6 metres. Compare this to the estimated draft of Nuship Aotearoa 8.5 metres. Very long term DNB will increasingly lack the water to safety berth vessels. The naval base option also ignores the questions around the future of Kauri Point, though if the RNZAF remain they could use it to store ammunition.

    If it were my choice I'd probably move the majority of the navy including the dry dock to a new location but consolidate all training at DNB. This would see the North Yard transferred to Iwi. I would forward base two ships in the South Island - naturally Dunedin has spare space. Where is the interesting question.
    I consider Picton is out simply on environmental grounds, not to mention the issues with the inter-island ferries.

    With regards to Mr C comments on MPI and Customs I think its time that they take over the inshore role from the navy. The Navy mandate is growing larger but not the fleet, something has to give.
     
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  8. KiwiRob

    KiwiRob Member

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    I don't know what the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei think they can develop in Devonport, if there is one Auckland suburb unsuited for intensification it's Devonport, there is only one road in and out, it's already at capacity, it doesn't make sense for the council to allow high intensity development in the area. Plus there's a lot of wealthy people in the area with deep pockets who will fight to stop it, if the council was stupid enough to allow it, the same thing happened up the road in Milford.

    Unless the main naval base moves to Wellington or Christchurch I can't see the navy having an easy time retaining staff, Whangarei which appears to be the front runner is a horrible place, I couldn't imagine many people being happy being relocated there.

    If the base was moved to Marsden Point along with Ports of Auckland where would the extra facilities be built, building facilities up the harbour to Marsden Bay and One Tree Point would be a non starter, I'm sure the residents of those areas would kick up a fuss, moving to the other side of the existing facilities to Bream Bay puts you almost into open sea and it's outside the harbour entrance and would require a lot of dredging.

    If the Ports move to the Firth of Thames as Mr C proposes it would also make sense to move the navy with them.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2018 at 2:33 PM
  9. MrConservative

    MrConservative Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Firstly, I am not the one "proposing" the Port move to the Firth of Thames Rob - I support it but in terms of accuracy it is far from being my idea and thus cannot claim credit for it.

    Secondly Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei will prevail with their development plans in the area with quite a bit of it in the Unitary Plan already. A few of miffed individuals with deep pockets will only burn holes in them. There are other bigger projects that the Govt and Auckland Council have to get over the line and cannot do without Iwi singing from the same sheet. So they will waiata the future Iwi plans for Devonport music enthusiastically.

    Auckland Transport are going to spend up to $70m on Lake Road through to Esmonde Road to increase capacity with buslanes, cyclelanes and better lane configuration. The overall policy emphasis is to get people out of their private cars. The other main transport link is the Ferry. Here is the BECA consultation report about the Lake Road upgrade changes.

    https://at.govt.nz/media/1973691/lake-road-ibc-draft-report.pdf

    The Navy and the POA wont go to Whangarei together. Just the Navy alone and there are 2 sites. The old 100ha Port Nikau site and Port Marsden. The harbour channel to Port Nikau is 20 metres deep so sufficient. I too am not a fan of the place but - I have heard that it has improved in recent years. Maybe the Navy will improve the tone of the city. At least the housing is greatly affordable there - an issue relating to retention in the Navy these days - no one can afford on Navy pay and wifes pay to live anywhere close ($114,000 p.a household income to just bank qualify for the average new mortgage repayment on a even a mythical cheap Kiwibuild home). Wellington is again too expensive and on Navy pay most will be still having a long haul up to Trentham where there is the only defence held land which could allow for the required accommodation capacity.
     
  10. Novascotiaboy

    Novascotiaboy Member

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    With such a small fleet now that is unlikely to change more than a couple of hulls in either direction the idea of moving from Devonport may not be a bad thing if all is considered.

    With the IPV's having limited use over the last few years maybe establishing a forward base in the islands to provide a presence and a resource to the island nations naval forces. Funds could come from the expanded foreign affairs budget. Nice post for junior officers and crew to get leadership and sea time.

    Auckland is amongst the worlds most expensive cities to live in so by leaving there would be a significant savings for serving members as has been noted by MrC and others. Also noted in various reports related to the budget the defence establishment has too much real estate and elderly buildings under its umbrella so maybe now is the time to really think outside the box and come forward with a comprehensive plan to rationalize and right size the defence force.

    Devonport is valuable as is Whenupai. If the engineering and support component of the navy moves to Port Nikau with plenty of berth space and some form of replacement for Calliopee drydock via a P3 approach this would be good all around. Whether its a floating drydock or a fixed drydock would depend upon the available space at Port Nikau. The Naval HQ is still in Wellington / Trentham so that part doesn't change. A second minor base could be established on the South Island, Port Chalmers or Dunedin itself for the Southern OPV and maybe a couple of other vessels. At the same time if the P8 is chosen as a P3K2 replacement then a move to the new portion of AIA may be preferred with the rotary component moving to Northland. A single hangar with maintenance and office space could be easily located at the current site as there appears to be plenty of space surrounding the runway yet away from the residential housing ringing the shorline around the airport. Move the remaining transports to Ohakea and sell off Whenupai for further housing development and use the funds to support new infrastructure.

    As has been stated if this were to come to pass it wouldn't happen overnight. I have seen personally what can be accomplished by rationalizing services into new, built for purpose facilities. Old WW2 hangars and workshops replaced by new buildings here in Atlantic Canada have reduced waste and inefficiency, except at NDHQ in Ottawa.

    By looking at this from a joint services approach I am sure even more savings could be had by rationalizing and consolidating even more by going to Ohakea for all fixed wing. Take it one step further and leave Woodbourne for a new training campus in a better location. With no aircraft assigned here why keep a NZDF presence here?
     
  11. Ocean1Curse

    Ocean1Curse Member

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    More generally high end property speculators can not meet the needs of peace, stability and prosperity and NZDF budget has been declining as a share of the GDP for the last 30 years. For at least the last 10 years petitions and public surveys questioning the value of ports of Auckland are produced by locals with conflict of interest because they know trade has been declining as well, so no one wants to carry orphaned vessels and decaying infrastructure based on declining revenue. So if Vote Defence isn't restored to 1980/90 levels then it doesn't really matter where we move these facilities, we'll be faced with the same problems that is getting RNZN stopped out of Devenport. Now work has begun to reverse all this, it's just lazy property speculators need to do there own research and figure out why the rest of the economy is declining instead of taking investment queues from the TV.
     
  12. ngatimozart

    ngatimozart Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    There is no reason to denigrate property speculators, especially when they are not pertinent to the discussion. Also you are straying into the forbidden realm of politics. Take this as a warning.
     
  13. MrConservative

    MrConservative Super Moderator Staff Member

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    If you are inferring that Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei are lazy speculators you need to stop being intellectually lazy and do your own research and learn some history (over a number of years because it is far more complicated and nuanced that a 30 minutes google search) rather than rave on and make unsubstantiated claims about things you really have no idea about.
     
  14. MrConservative

    MrConservative Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It is a way in which we could work with other genuine Pacific Forum Partners such as Australia, which is providing the new 40m patrol vessels, France, the United States, the UK which post Brexit seeks to contribute and Japan.

    Abe vows support for Pacific islands to boost maritime security

    Interestingly there have been plans since 1946 to have an airport on that Port Nikau site and as late as 5 years ago BECA did a report on a possible 1800m runway. However, it would not be allowable for night operations and cost $200m. A RNZN heliport would be a different matter. One could argue that 6 Sqd could be formally based under the Navy and become 6 Sqd RNZN Air Fleet Arm.

    With another 3000m runway highly likely going into AIA post 2025 selling off WP for much needed residential housing and basing the P-8 there as a reduced footprint RNZAF facility. The current government may do nothing about the P-8 but the one that replaces it will do something. The B757 replacement could also be based there. One wonders if the money to be spent at WP over the next few years as part of the infrastructure upgrade is worth it. With rail to the AIA coming and upgrades out to West Auckland and the new Westmere tunnel linking the Northern and South Western Motorways Auckland is should become a bit more commuter friendly.

    BTW Whangarei Engineering was based at Port Nikau. They who built aspects of the Anzac Class and the IPV's. Hawea spent a few days alongside recently at Nikau visiting where it was born. A drydock, even if at Port Marsden nearby, possibly under PPP mixed ownership, would be of great advantage. Marine engineering may return to the city.

    Rotary at OH works as 3 Sqd has plenty of customers close by at Linton. There has been considerable infrastructure sunk into the place. OH hopefully will attract the Singaporean's fairly soon. I have also thought that South Korea - another country with real limitations in terms of airspace could potentially be another Asian partner who may be attracted to basing an air combat training contingent there.

    Woodbourne could become a Defence/RNZAF training establishment and have some current non flying units from OH and WP based there such as - Security Forces Training School, Military Working Dog Training School, Survival Training Centre, New Zealand Defence Force Military Police adding to its current non flying units. Potentially 42nd and 14th squadron could be based there freeing space at OH if common sense eventually prevails and be recover certain lost capabilities that were once at OH.
     
  15. Ocean1Curse

    Ocean1Curse Member

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    I'v already had one warning today so I'll try and explain what I meant by that and it will be the end of it from me. If it's still not with in DT guidelines then please delete. So let's roll.

    No body points the finger at who's causing climate change and I think that's a mistake. We call it infrastructure deficits instead of climate change which is just a soft argument for huge political and industrial incompetence. In order to disqualify those that have managed the infrastructure deficit up to now we'd have to disqualify ourselves as well. The triviality here is that the infrastructure deficits are supported right to the end. What honest people are saying seems to be that we should pay attention to our own pollution and stop generating it, and it's even more true when we're shelling out billions for petrol. And we have a massive intellectual class that will support these dead ends of capitalism all the way to the end. So what is the just cause for managing these risks? We have more of a responsibility to the victims of climate change than those that seek out capitalisms ends.

    It's interesting I have to say this because it's vastly more significant than institutional analysis of RNZN facilities but once it's said it should only be 10% of the over all analysis, IMO. We can come up with really solid fundamental analysis and put it into action and still get punished through a slightly different debt track or maybe there's a muscle farmer that refuses to move, that's why we should never let perfect get in the way of good enough. RNZN is not only a vital institution it is quite possibly a prerequisite to survival and we just have to take it seriously.
     
  16. Preceptor

    Preceptor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    DefenceTalk is an international defense forum, which means the discussion should be about various national and international defense issues. DT isn't the place to engage in discussion of climate change, politics (unless they're directly related to defense topics like defense budget or procurement decisions), economic models or theories, and other Off Topic subjects. Those who continue to make such posts, especially after having been warned against doing so by members of the Mod Team, can expect to find themselves banned. Should such behavior continue even after that, posters may find themselves banned permanently.
     
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