Australia bushfires: New Zealand Defence Force sending support to Australia

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) will send support to Australia to help tackle the country's raging bushfires.

On Sunday, Minister of Defence Ron Mark announced New Zealand is assisting with three Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopters and crew, two NZ Army Combat Engineer Sections and a command element to support the Australian Defence Force efforts. 

The NZDF support will be deployed by Australian Defence Force C-17 and New Zealand Defence Force C-10 on a number of flights from Ohakea Airforce base on Monday to Wednesday.

"This latest NZDF support is being provided in addition to the latest rotation of five NZDF Firefighters deployed to bolster numbers of emergency responders on the ground," Mark says.

"We need to mention and thank those Defence Force spouses, partners and children whose holiday plans are being interrupted as their family members are being called back to assist our Australian cousins in their time of need.

"I am truly grateful, and I thank them for their understanding and support."

The NZDF contingent will deploy to Royal Australian Air Force Base Edinburgh in Adelaide and will remain in Australia until the end of January, at least. 

The NH90s will undertake transport tasks. 

On Saturday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that the country's Defence Force Reserves will be deployed to fire zones. The navy's largest ship will assist in coastal evacuations and AU$20 million is committed for four extra planes in case state premiers request their use.