The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is set to conduct a critical training exercise in the South Auckland and Papakura areas this month in order to maintain its operational readiness.

The critical training exercise, which will see the participation of NZ Army soldiers and Royal New Zealand Air Force helicopters, will be performed on 16 and 17 April.

With this training, NZDF troops are expected to remain ready to respond and to support the country.

NZDF noted that it needs to undertake training in various land, air and sea environments to make sure that it maintains its readiness to deploy.

Furthermore, being able to exercise in multiple environments will ensure that its personnel are trained well and can offer support to a range of domestic, regional and security situations worldwide.

NZDF said in a statement: “The effects and restrictions of Covid-19 have meant that much of the defence force training activities have been reduced significantly in line with government direction.

“However, critical training exercises will occur from time-to-time enabling the NZDF to maintain our operational readiness. We appreciate the support and understanding from local communities when we conduct our exercises and training activities.”

In a separate announcement, 70 NZDF personnel have been drafted into various agencies, and military planning skills are being put to good use in the fight against Covid-19.

NZDF personnel are using their expertise to help government agencies ‘put in the long patrol’ against the virus.

Soldiers of NZDF have so far helped distribute care packages around Manawatū and Royal New Zealand Navy Reserves have helped clear a hospital ward in Dunedin.