Mr Desmond (Des) Ashton, ONZM of Blenheim, for services to the New Zealand Defence Force and aviation
As Deputy Secretary Acquisition with the Ministry of Defence, Mr Ashton was responsible for delivering one of the largest Defence acquisition programmes in New Zealand. This encompassed 16 projects at various stages of development, with a combined final contract value of $3.5 billion. Mr Ashton was involved with negotiating bilateral arrangements with the United Kingdom, Sweden and the Republic of Korea. He was appointed as a member and later Chair of the Defence Industry Committee of New Zealand. He was an engineer with the Royal New Zealand Air Force, where he was highly respected for his engineering skills with the Skyhawk aircraft. He has had senior roles in companies including Safe Air Ltd, Ansett Australia and Air New Zealand, and was Chief Executive of Port Marlborough Ltd.