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New Year Honours 2022 - Citations for the New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration

The New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration:

BLYTHEN, Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Dean

For services to the New Zealand Defence Force

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Blythen has been posted to the Strategic Commitments and Engagement Branch of the New Zealand Defence Force as the Deputy Director Strategic Commitments (Domestic) since May 2018.

In this role Lieutenant Colonel Blythen is the primary NZDF point of contact for All of Government (AoG) domestic security and emergency response requirements. He has faced an unprecedented number of significant and complex domestic emergencies during his tenure that have required considerable and, in some cases, sustained NZDF support. These have included the COVID-19 pandemic, the March 2019 Christchurch terror attack, the Whakaari/White Island eruption, bushfires in New Zealand and Australia, droughts and floods. It has also included the proactive commitment to many planned major national events including the 2021 America's Cup sailing regatta, APEC 21 until it transitioned to a virtual event, and coordinating support to hui of national significance. During the initial stages of the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, at short notice he led the establishment of a NZDF strategic COVID-19 response cell that operated seven days a week to ensure the NZDF was responsive and effective in supporting the national Level 4 lockdown period. Lieutenant Colonel Blythen has covered a near continuous series of challenging national emergencies, demonstrating professionalism and industriousness towards ensuring New Zealand has had the best national response options for the safety of its citizens.

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The New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration:

DEIHL, Wing Commander Richard Francis

For services to the New Zealand Defence Force

Wing Commander Richard Deihl has served with the Royal New Zealand Air Force since 1998 and has held staff positions across the wider New Zealand Defence Force.

On 19 June 2020, Wing Commander Deihl was seconded to lead the Auckland Regional Isolation and Quarantine Command Centre for the All of Government (AoG) response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. He has led a multi­agency team for the safe and effective management of returnees arriving in New Zealand through the Auckland-based Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) Facilities. He managed the delivery of 17 isolation facilities and the Jet Park quarantine facility, encompassing approximately 3,000 staff. He developed key relationships across a range of public and private partners from Chief Executives to private contractors. He responded to challenges such as returnees absconding from facilities, managing deportees from Australia and escalated security risks from drug, alcohol and mental health concerns. He displayed leadership in the health workforce transition from privately contracted nursing staff to a District Health Board operating model. He created an inclusive and transparent environment, promoting clear lines of communication and his leadership was a critical element in the delivery of essential services by senior health care staff. Wing Commander Deihl delivered and managed a world-leading end-to-end sustainable model that permitted the rapid and safe transition of returnees through the isolation and quarantine facilities. This model became the national standard and has been regarded internationally as world's best practice.

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Last updated: 
Friday, 31 December 2021

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