New leaders to tackle NZ defence spending

16 February 2016

New Zealand’s Ministry of Defence has appointed a new defence acquisition team as part of plans to increase its expertise to help deliver a spending program worth billions of dollars.

Air vice marshall Mike Yardley, current chief of Air Force, has been appointed deputy secretary acquisition, heading up a new five-person Acquisition Leadership Team.

Yardley had more than 15 years’ experience in the development, acquisition and introduction into service of military capability. The Ministry said that as chief of Air Force and a senior military leader he has led organisational change and business improvement processes within the New Zealand Defence Force to improve programme and project management, governance arrangements, risk management and business case development.

As well as Yardley, the new Ministry of Defence Acquisition Leadership Team includes assistant secretary acquisition Huntley Wright, programme director maritime Jon Finderup, programme director land Richard Burn and programme director air Neil Hygate. They will take on their roles at the beginning of next month [March].The process to appoint a new chief of Air Force will begin shortly.

Secretary of defence Helene Quilter said that Yardley and the new team would provide the Ministry with a strong combination of professional and technical expertise, and would make a significant contribution to the leadership and delivery of major capability projects.

“They will drive the change programme we have begun in the Ministry, in partnership with the New Zealand Defence Force, to build our capacity to deliver an acquisition programme of around $11bn over the coming decade, including replacements for the NZDF’s air transport and air surveillance fleets and the Anzac frigates,” she said.

“Each member of the team is a highly experienced senior professional. Their collective backgrounds include significant defence and military experience as well as expertise in programme and project management, systems engineering and change management. All have held senior leadership positions in the public or private sector.”

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