Global Statistics

All countries
548,935,393
Confirmed
Updated on June 26, 2022 8:11 pm
All countries
520,723,315
Recovered
Updated on June 26, 2022 8:11 pm
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6,350,765
Deaths
Updated on June 26, 2022 8:11 pm
Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Global Statistics

All countries
548,935,393
Confirmed
Updated on June 26, 2022 8:11 pm
All countries
520,723,315
Recovered
Updated on June 26, 2022 8:11 pm
All countries
6,350,765
Deaths
Updated on June 26, 2022 8:11 pm
Molderizer and Safe Shield

Government to review defence policy amid Covid-19, geopolitical competition, climate change

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Defence Minister Peeni Henare has launched a review of defence policy that could reshape New Zealand’s military.

In an announcement on Thursday, Henare said the Government wanted to ensure the Defence Force was “fit for purpose” in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, intensifying great power competition, and escalating climate change.

Cabinet asked the defence agencies to write a new defence policy and strategy statement, due in October 2022. A statement looking at “future force design principles” is due April 2023. The prior Strategic Defence Policy Statement was produced by the Labour-coalition Government in 2018.

“The importance of this review is paramount so that we can make sure future investments are fit for purpose in a post Covid-19 environment, a Pacific region grappling with climate change and the intensification of strategic competition, and a world which is seeing a brutal invasion of Ukraine by Russia,” Henare said.

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Henare, who took up the defence minister role in November 2020, has long signalled he would redraw defence priorities and branding them with the Labour stamp.

The policy review comes at a time of difficulty for the Defence Force, which has been grappling with ageing equipment, the introduction of new aircraft, high-attrition rates, and a lack of training due to the pandemic.

Henare said the plans would set out a “high-level strategy” for defence and “shape the future” of the Defence Force.

Defence Minister Peeni Henare says the Government’s 2022 Budget will help “ease the tension” felt by the Defence Force, which has struggled to maintain capability throughout the pandemic.

ROBERT KITCHIN/Stuff

Defence Minister Peeni Henare says the Government’s 2022 Budget will help “ease the tension” felt by the Defence Force, which has struggled to maintain capability throughout the pandemic.

The design principles would define “the activities and scenarios the future force may be required to undertake based on current and predicted trends”.

Beyond this, the Government could ask for a new defence white paper and capability plan. The last capability plan, written in 2019, set out the Government’s intended billion-dollar major asset purchases for the decades to come.

Henare has previously said this 2019 Defence Capability Plan remained in place, though defence spending would likely be pushed out.

“While the Defence Capability Plan 2019 will continue to guide our investment, developments in Ukraine, on climate change, and in the scale and regularity of natural disasters remind us that unforeseen events require an agile and dynamic approach to strategy and defence capability,” he said, on Thursday.

One of the Defence Force’s 50-year-old C130 Hercules aircraft, in Europe to assist with the movement of military aid to Ukraine.

NZDF

One of the Defence Force’s 50-year-old C130 Hercules aircraft, in Europe to assist with the movement of military aid to Ukraine.

National Party defence spokesman Tim van de Molen said the Government had been through the review process in 2019, and this latest review would only “kick the can down the road”.

“I’m not just sure how many times you need to keep reviewing, and considering, and assessing, before you actually start delivering.”

The Defence Force was in desperate need of regeneration, van de Molen said.

The Government had made no major investments this term, and defence spending would reduce considerably in the coming years, he said.

The Ministry of Defence published a Defence Assessment in 2020 that canvassed the security risks New Zealand faced and recommended a review of the Government’s defence policy.

The assessment said a more proactive strategy as required to better “pre-empt and prevent” security threats.

Among the threats catalogued by the assessment were: the growing presence of China, the potential for a military base to be constructed in the Pacific by a country non-aligned with New Zealand, and intensifying natural disasters driven by climate change.



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