Defence White Paper released, $20B finding boost required

Looks like a big spend up is required to bring Defence up to speed.

Up to $20 billion will be spent on New Zealand’s Defence Force over the next 15 years, the Government revealed today, including a scaling-up of operations in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica and a greater focus on defending against cyber attacks.

The long-awaited Defence White Paper, released at Parliament this morning, earmarked funding equivalent to 1 per cent of New Zealand’s GDP for defence – around half the amount spent by Australia and the United Kingdom.

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee said the paper outlined a modernisation plan which would ensure that the NZDF had the capabilities it needed to meet the country’s security and defence challenges up to 2040.

“These challenges include having awareness of, and being able to respond to, activities in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, supporting our interests in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, and protecting Defence information networks against increasing cyber threats.”

Most of that coin is needed for aircraft upgrades and replacements.

As already signalled, the document outlines plans to replace the NZDF’s existing capabilities – in particular the Air Force’s ageing fleet of Hercules and the Navy’s ANZAC frigates – though replacements are not named in the White Paper.

It also spelled out new capabilities for the NZDF.

To assist with operations in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica, a third Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) and a new naval tanker would be acquired and ice-strengthened in order to meet stricter standards for vessels in the region which come into force in 2018. New Zealand will still rely on an American ice-breaker to get its supplies to its Antarctic operations at Scott Base.

The P-3K2 Orion, which is used for surveillance in the region, would also be replaced.

The NZDF said there was a strong focus on southern operations because of the increasing level of international activity in the region.

The dive ship HMNZS Manawanui and hydrographic HMNZS Resolution would be replaced with a single vessel which could support operations from sea onto land – such as when the Defence Force responds to natural disasters in the Pacific.

The other major new focus would be on cyber security “for the protection of Defence networks, platforms and people”, though few details are given in the paper about specific threats to the NZDF.

I don’t have much confidence that we will buy capable but cost effective replacements for the Hercules. The Defence hierarchy seems to be in love with very expensive American equipment, when other systems exist that would be more cost effective for our paltry defence spending.



-NZ Herald

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

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