New Zealand Increases Defence Spending by $500 Million Amid Beijing Aggression

New Zealand is to increase defence spending by $571 million to bolster its capabilities in ‘an increasingly unstable world,’ Minister Judith Collins said.

New Zealand will increase its defence spending by $571 million (US$377 million), with the money going to improve pay for frontline servicemen and women and upgrade equipment.

Defence Minister Judith Collins made the pre-budget announcement on May 9. The additional funding includes $99 million in savings from within the existing NZ Defence Force (NZDF) budget.

“Our servicemen and women do New Zealand proud throughout the world and this funding will help ensure we retain their services and expertise as we navigate an increasingly unstable environment,” Ms. Collins said.

“But they cannot do their jobs without the right equipment and conditions.”

Of the additional funding, $163 million will improve remuneration for New Zealand Defence Force personnel and $408 million will be spent on upgrading equipment and infrastructure, broken down into $127 million in operational expenditure and $281 million in capital funding.

The money will be spent on replacing the Unimog and Pinzgauer trucks, which Ms. Collins calls “the NZDF’s workhorses,” which were notably deployed during Cyclone Gabrielle relief efforts.

She said that some vehicles had been in use for 40 years and replacing them “would be a crucial step in this challenging world we live in.”

The replacement vehicles will have integrated communications “that will enhance interoperability with regional and global partners, such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.”

Helicopter Upgrades

Additionally, the funding will support the next phase of upgrades for NH90 helicopter navigation systems and radios, improvements to the regional supply facility and logistics at Linton Military Camp, modernisation of devices and productivity tools, digital services upgrades, and enhancements to national maritime domain awareness.

The Budget will also fund the leasing of 35 homes for Devonport Naval Base personnel.

Defence Minister Judith Collins speaks at a press conference at Parliament in Wellington, New Zealand, on Aug. 31, 2021. (Mark Mitchell - Pool/Getty Images)
Defence Minister Judith Collins speaks at a press conference at Parliament in Wellington, New Zealand, on Aug. 31, 2021. (Mark Mitchell – Pool/Getty Images)

Announcing the funding boost at Burnham Military Camp near Christchurch, Ms. Collins said she believed the Defence Force was in “a pretty dire state” in terms of morale and attrition when she took over the portfolio late last year.

“Our people are at the frontline of New Zealand’s security in an increasingly unstable world and that increasingly unstable world makes it essential that we retain our hard-working and well-trained people who, without hesitation, deploy throughout the world,” Ms. Collins said.

She said the increase would bring a “significant improvement” to current pay rates.

Defence Capability Plan to be Developed

The next stage involves developing a Defence Capability Plan to help shape future spending decisions.

“Together these remuneration increases and projects will help boost our economy while ensuring New Zealand is ready, willing and, crucially, able to play its part internationally,” Ms. Collins said.

“The world is increasingly unstable. We have only to look at events in Ukraine and the Middle East to see how quickly people’s lives can change. This announcement is a signal that New Zealand is ready to step up and play its part to protect the freedoms that so many of us take for granted.”

In April, Australia announced that its defence spending would increase by $50 billion, with Defence Minister Richard Marles warning about China’s rapid advancements in warfare capabilities.

“China is improving its capabilities in all areas of warfare at a pace and scale not seen in the world for nearly a century. This is happening without transparency about its strategic purpose,” he said.


Read More

Leave a Reply