8 Dec 2021

Minister announces Defence Force 'priorities and principles'

4:31 pm on 8 December 2021

Minister Peeni Henare has announced a set of new priorities and principles for the Defence Force.

Peeni Henare

Peeni Henare Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

He said it would ensure the Defence Force (NZDF) remained in the best position to continue serving New Zealanders amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The priorities:

  • People: Defence represents and reflects New Zealand
  • Infrastructure: Looking after our people and generating military effects
  • Pacific: We are in and of the Pacific
  • The "people" priority includes implementing the Operation Burnham inquiry's recommendations, a "post-Covid-19 regeneration" of the NZDF, a finalised workforce strategy with women, peace and security principles embedded across the organisation, and efforts to ensure military service is recognised.

    The infrastructure portion includes a "rolling refresh" of Defence accommodation and facilities, and assessment of climate emissions.

    "Investment in defence infrastructure will also help accelerate the economic recovery by providing opportunities for local businesses. For example, at Base Ohakea in Manawatū-Whanganui, the new $250 million facility to house the P-8A Poseidon fleet represents a substantial economic boost for the region," Henare said.

    The Pacific priority includes supporting other countries to build resilient, capable security systems and tackle things like climate change and unregulated fishing.

    "Security and stability of our neighbourhood is of the utmost importance to New Zealand," Henare said.

    The principles:

    No caption

    Photo: New Zealand Government

    Defence Assessments are conducted every five years by the Secretary of Defence, in consultation with the Chief of Defence Force, as independent advice to the government of the day.

    Henare said the latest - He moana pukepuke e ekengia e te waka: A rough sea can still be navigated - had identified climate change and greater strategic competition as the two biggest challenges to New Zealand's defence interests.

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