Govt invests $20bil in NZ Defence Force

By Heta Gardiner

A $20bil investment plan for the NZ Defence Force was unveiled by Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee today. The initiative includes a greater focus on defence against cyber-attacks.

Brownlee says, “The white paper outlines a 15-year modernisation plan, worth nearly $20 billion dollars to ensure that the defence force has all the capabilities it needs, for all of New Zealand's defence challenges.”

This is the result of the release of the government's 'White Paper'. Some of the initiatives include:

  • Better support for sea-to-shore operations
  • Enhanced air surveillance
  • A cyber security supports capability
  • And additional defence intelligence personal

Prime Minister John Key told media today, “What we're trying to do through the white paper process is make knee-jerk reactions, in a sort of ad hock vacuum, and take a much more holistic long-term approach.”

The last Defence White Paper was issued in 2010. A renewal was required due to changes in an international environment in the last five years.

However, former Minister of Defence Phil Goff says that this release lacks detail, “This white paper is essentially a list of generalities.”

There are also questions over a lack of resources to upskill soldiers.

“Just last month, the auditor general said that what is holding up the utilisation of our assets is a significant shortfall in skills and in capabilities. This is a huge problem, and nothing in the white paper suggests how it will be addressed,” says Goff.

This initiative's plans are in place until 2030.