21 Desember 2010Ohakea airforce base (photo : NZ DoD)
The Government has yet to make a final decision on turning Ohakea Air Force Base into New Zealand's major defence force hub - but the air force today awarded a contract worth $30 million to Mainzeal Property and Construction Ltd.
The Palmerston North company will construct additional infrastructure at the base.
The Government has proposed creating the hub by moving the Linton army base to Ohakea, reducing the permanent personnel at Waiouru, and looking at other bases including Woodbourne and Trentham.
Wing Commander Peter Neilson said today the Mainzeal contract included the construction of 13 engineering workshops covering 11,000 square metres, which will be used by the Royal NZ Air Force "and possibly the NZ Army if plans to consolidate at Ohakea are realised in the future".
The building work was expected to be ready by June 2012.
"Its an exciting time for the NZDF and especially the Air Force at Ohakea," he said. "We are proud to be working with Mainzeal and the local community throughout the project."
Local communities have speculated that the creation of a big defence hub could mean personnel and equipment move into the area, bringing economic benefits to towns such as Sanson, Bulls and Feilding.
The proposed expansion of Ohakea stemmed from the Government's Defence White Paper, designed to review the nation's security needs for the next 25 years.