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Defence Policy Review to ensure future investment 'fit for a post-Covid-19 world'

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Due to COVID-19, the escalating impacts of climate change, and the intensification of geo-strategic competition, the Government has commissioned a Defence Policy Review to ensure that New Zealand’s Defence policy, strategy, and planned capability investments remain fit for purpose, Minister of Defence Peeni Henare announced today.

"Our Defence Force is essential in protecting New Zealanders and their interests, and alongside our partners they work daily to protect the security and stability of our region," Peeni Henare said.

"We remain committed to ensuring that Defence have the policies and equipment they need to do their jobs. 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.

"The current capability work programme will continue while the review is underway, with all individual capability investments continuing to be considered on a case-by-case basis.

"This Government’s record is already one of historic investments in our Defence Force, having already invested approximately $4.5 billion in 12 major defence capability projects since taking office. This investment, amongst other things, will see the delivery of four new P-8A Poseidon aircraft, five new C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, and 43 Bushmaster vehicles.

"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.

"Cabinet has agreed to the Terms of Reference for the Review, which will reflect the Government’s priorities for Defence - People, Infrastructure, and Pacific, and will also draw on the recent Defence Assessment, reflecting our commitment to regenerate the Defence Force in a post-COVID-19 world while putting a stronger focus on the region in which we live.

"Work will now begin on a defence policy and strategy statement which will set out a high level strategy for Defence. In addition, a set of design principles will be developed to help shape the future New Zealand Defence Force so that they’re enabled to undertake activities that may be required of them.

"Similar to previous reviews, a Ministerial Advisory Panel will be established to provide independent advice throughout," Peeni Henare said.

The policy and strategy statement will be delivered to the Government by the end of the year, with the future force design principles to follow in the first half of next year. The Government will take further decisions as to the next steps in the review process based on the findings of these initial products.

"New Zealanders can be immensely proud of the contribution our Defence Force is making here in New Zealand, and around the globe. In the past few years alone, they have worked to keep New Zealanders safe from COVID-19, responded to natural disasters in the Pacific, and provided support to Ukraine in its defence against Russia’s aggression," Peeni Henare said.

"The Defence Policy Review will ensure that our people are best enabled to continue their vital work to protect our interests."

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