Budget 2017: NZDF to get nearly $1 billion

New funding will be split over four years between operations and capital.

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) will receive a $982 million funding injection as part of the 2017 Budget.

The funding includes a $406 million boost in operating funding over four years and $576 million in capital, according to Defence Minister Mark Mitchell.

“It is vital the NZDF has what it needs to meet the country’s security and defence interests. This major increase in funding for the armed services will support a range of NZDF capabilities as identified through the Defence White Paper of 2016,” he says.

The defence minister says funding will go towards new initiatives and projects, including a cyber-security support capability for the protection of NZDF communication networks, a new pilot training capability service, and more funding for helicopter fleets. The capital funding includes:

  • $100 million to improve defence camps and bases throughout the country, including facility upgrades in Auckland, Manawatu and Canterbury;
  • $301.7 million for the Littoral Operations Support Ship and the Frigate Communications Upgrade;
  • $36.1 million to replace the underwater intelligence, surveillance systems fitted to the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s six P-3K2 Orions;
  • $28.2 million for counter-explosive hazard and counter-improvised explosive device capability;
  • $110 million investment in a modern, efficient logistics system to enable smaller fleets of military equipment to be held and to ensure that equipment is safe.

Mr Mitchell says the NZDF has to be modern and able to operate in a wide range of tasks and environments, both on its own and with New Zealand’s strategic partners.

“The ongoing defence and security of New Zealand and the protection of our interests requires significant investment in our Defence Force, and this Budget provides that,” he says.

In June last year, the government announced it would spend $20 billion on the NZDF in a long-term investment plan. The white paper outlined plans for a new cyber-security system and to replace Air Force Boeing 757, the C130-Hercules, the Orion maritime patrol aircraft and the ANZAC frigates, over the next 15 years.

Then-prime minister John Key cited “increasing uncertainty and instability in the international environment" as reasons to increase the budget for the armed forces.

"New Zealand needs a defence force than can protect New Zealand and also contribute to international security and stability," he said.

Mr Key confirmed then New Zealand's expected military budget represents 1.1% of New Zealand’s GDP.