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New Zealand invasion

Discussion in 'Geostrategic Issues' started by proletarian, Feb 6, 2009.

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  1. proletarian

    proletarian New Member

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    I have been living in beautiful New Zealand for over 15 years, and I am now a New Zealander. I must say I am not connected with any defence staff or matters. Defence is even not a hobby of mine; I am just an everyday proletarian here :) . As you all probably know, New Zealand has hardly any credible defence force: half a dozen transport planes, a few decommissioned fighter-jets rusting away, and some vintage helicopters.

    I don't want to sound paranoid, but could the specialists here let me know what is your technical opinion on the following:

    1. What is the risk that a large foreign nation will be interested in invading New Zealand within the next 50 years? After all, overpopulation and economic decline may well push some country to that temptation.

    2. If such an invasion was indeed planned, can you imagine the invading force coming to New Zealand (by sea or air) unimpeded?

    3. Since New Zealand defence would be unable to stop the invaders, can you imagine that other friendly nations would be able to stop them before they reach New Zealand?

    4. Assuming the invading force does reach New Zealand, our country would be defeated in a matter of hours. Is it truly believable that our "friends" would come to our rescue at that stage? After all, what would be their motivation? Are we not just a little insignificant nation, not worth fighting for? Would we not be lost like other little nations / regions have been in the 20th century? Sure, the invading country would get trade penalties and embargoes as "punishment"; but would the matter not be forgotten within a few decades?

    5. As far as you know, does Australia seem to be better prepared to repel an invader?

    6. If you had to choose between living in New Zealand and Australia, and your choice was guided by defence concerns, which country would you pick as the safest to live in?
     
  2. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I am not a specialist nor do I know as much on this issue as most of the Australians in this forum. I just think it may be useful to have a non-Australian opinion on NZ's defence policy.

    So here's my 2 cents.

    You say "New Zealand has hardly any credible defence force". I would ask: Compared to which other country (in a similar situation)?

    What strategies can small states like NZ, employ to deal with external threats?

    I would like to name 2 main strategies applicable to NZ:

    (i) balancing (eg. Singapore and it is part of our strategy); and/or

    (ii) bandwagoning* (eg. Serbia had bandwagoned with Russia, before WWI. Russia came to Serbia's aid when Serbia was threatened by another major power. That triggered WWI, but in the end Serbia survived as Yugoslavia, gaining more territory to prevent another major power from invading it.).​

    The formation of alliances both formal and informal by small states with larger powers is one example of small states, like NZ, employing some strategies to ensure protection of their national interests.

    [*Note: I copied this example from another person posting in another forum]

    IMHO, any foreign invasion of NZ can only succeed if:

    (i) Australia decides to do nothing; and

    (ii) the foreign invasion force can get to NZ unmolested (because the invasion force must have some means to project their power).​

    You must also ask: What is the strategic/military value of invading NZ for the foreign invasion force?

    Are you asking if NZ should be preparing for a potential invasion from a southern approach? IMHO, not likely right? Further, Australia can also project it's forces to the south.

    Or

    Are you asking if NZ should be preparing for a potential invasion from the northern approach? Note that any northern approach will have to deal with the presence of Australian forces.

    Yes, Australia and the USN's 7th Fleet should be seen as NZ's best friends in this regard.

    Only if the invading force can go through the Australian forces or the USN undetected and unmolested.

    Yes of course. The total defence budgets of all ASEAN countries combined is smaller than Australia's defence budget. So Australia is a regional power.

    Further, IMHO, some ASEAN countries (who will remain unnamed for courtesy reasons) are unable to conduct an effective defence of their own territories. So there is some reliance on external support. Thankfully, Australia and the US are benign external powers.

    The answer for me: neither (as both face the same risk). The risk is less of a foreign invasion. Rather both countries are vulnerable to having your SLOCs cut. And the presence of the USN is critical in that regard.

    If you cannot trade, your national interests will still be hurt. No invasion is necessary to hurt both Australia and NZ's national interests.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2009
  3. proletarian

    proletarian New Member

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    Many thanks for the thoughts. Keep them coming, please!

    None; just a good place to live, whereas the rest of the world is becoming overcrowded. I can see many countries with a population over 200 million who may want to have New Zealand as another province, whether coming from the south or the north.
     
  4. Lucasnz

    Lucasnz Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    This is a self generated analysis (which isn't perfect) that outlines some of the maritime threats NZ may face - Invasion doesn't even rate when you you consider whats required.


     
  5. Lucasnz

    Lucasnz Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    You'd never win you know - the sheep would get you:eek:nfloorl:
     
  6. proletarian

    proletarian New Member

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    Lucasnz, your analysis is interesting because written by someone who obviously knows a lot about New Zealand and defence in general.

    As I said in my introduction, I am no defence specialist (even not remotely), so my thinking may be outside of the square. But so is the thinking of great strategists, who may out-think your analysis.

    If I was the leader of an overpopulated country that wants to invade New Zealand to expand its territory, I would run an operation that is not in your list of possibilities. I would first position a few thousand agents that merge with the civil population, little by little over a year or two. Very easy to blend in, since New Zealand's population has a very high percentage of immigrants of all sorts anyway. Then, I would send a light but numerous invading ground force hidden in merchant ships (one or two ships per major harbour landing at the same time) and send two or three missiles or bombers that destroy some strategic assets. The ground invaders would face no opposition since New Zealand army has no fighter jets and only very little ground power, and New Zealand police is unarmed too. It would take no time to oust the legitimate government and be in control. Only a few thousand guerilla-type agents can do it, as it seems to me as a New Zealand citizen.

    Is that too simple? - With human population having increased by 4.4 billion in the 20th century (1900: 1.6 billion; 2000: 6 billion), desperate attempts like that seem more than likely sooner or later.

    Why a country like Switzerland (no wars since 1291), which has a population only twice that of New Zealand, has 87 fighter jets and 2000 armoured vehicles... and New Zealand has no fighter jets, and only 100 armoured vehicles (according to Wikipedia)?

    When I think of that type of comparison, I wonder if it is safe to remain in New Zealand.

    P.S. The invasion I fear is not that of Australians hahaha!
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2009
  7. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    IMHO, you have been avoiding the direct mention of Indonesia as a source of your concern. And I honestly don't think that Indonesian territorial expansionism all the way to New Zealand is likely or possible.

    If Indonesia ever goes to war (in the next decade), she can only do so with her immediate neighbours because of the lack of means to project her forces. Her armed forces may be large, but they are designed to maintain internal security. Viewed through the eyes of her fellow ASEAN member countries, Indonesia's behaviour has been restrained since the Konfrontasi ended.

    The significant military concept here is the ability to project her forces (be it conventional forces or unconventional forces). Hence the need for military intelligence agencies. In Singapore's case, it is headed by a one-star general.

    Because of the Konfrontasi, the 1971 Five-Powers Defence Agreement (FPDA), which remains in force (it is a consultative forum, not a formal alliance) was entered by Australia, Britain, and New Zealand which promised military support for Malaysia and Singapore if they were attacked by a foreign power. The FPDA was designed to counter Indonesia, if she went rogue again.

    If you are talking about a worse case scenario, Indonesia's ASEAN neighbours or Australia will be drawn into any conflict first. In recent years the FPDA has addressed asymmetric threats, maritime security issues and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. In sum, the FPDA has become ‘the quiet achiever’ in contributing to regional security.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2009
  8. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    For that matter, Singapore has at least 167 fighter/ground attack jets (excluding the 24x F-15SGs on order). Further, my Indonesian friend in this forum informs me that Singapore is within artillery range of Batam. :D

    BTW, I like Lucasnz's analysis too. I think it is a pity that the NZ government had made a decision to cripple your air force by deciding not to fund at least a modern fighter squadron. Destroying an existing military capability is always much cheaper than funding the building of a military capability (until you find that you need it).
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2009
  9. 1. Who has the capability? That is the first question when you are worried about an invasion. Capability includes long ranged amphibious forces. Long range strike capability, logistical capability sufficient to project power as far as NZ and capability to resist the efforts of those who are going to object to an invasion of NZ aka: USA and Australia as a minimum.

    2. Who has the intent?

    3. Look at NZ's geography. It is even further away from any Country with even a limited amphibious capability, than Australia is. Any force has to be able to project power over thousands of kilometres, with hostile forces between this hypothetical enemies homeland and the area subject of any invasion.

    A little bit.

    1. The movement of thousands of person of obvious military bearing through a civilian airport (NZ has HOW many International airports?) is going to attract significant attention from Intelligence agencies.

    2. What is the Visa arrangement going to be? Thousands of single male persons from one particular Country, completely out of the blue, isn't going to attract attention?

    Where are they going to stay? How are they going to train? What are they going to be equipped with?

    How are they going to be supported with funds, how is the capability to co-ordinate operations of thousands of troops, going to be managed covertly within a civilian population and without attracting ANY attention?

    There are any number of issues, with this scenario.

    Merchant ships. How are they going to house, feed and generally support the thousands of troops coming as the "second wave"?

    How are they going to offload these troops? Does NZ simply allow any ship to pull into it's harbours, without pilots? Are foreign ships allowed to sail into NZ waters without notifying the relevant authorities?

    How are these soldiers going to manoeuvre? Are they going to take over NZ by foot? How are support capabilities like engineers, medical and combat support units, going to manoeuvre or even off-load their equipment?

    2-3 bombers or missiles? Do you mean Inter-Continental ballistic missiles? Do you honestly think the USA will allow a Country to fire ICBM's at NZ without response? Bombers? What sort of bombers could fly around Australia and conduct strikes on NZ without attracting a response?

    How big is Switzerland's navy? How big is it's air transport force? How big is Switzerland's maritime patrol force?

    Switzerland is about 1500k's from Russia.

    New Zealand is about 15000k's from Russia.

    Don't you think that might make a slight difference in necessary defence capabilities?

    When I think of how many times NZ has been invaded in recent years, I think you'll find it pretty safe to stay...

    Cheers.
     
  10. Red

    Red New Member

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    A pre-emptive(oh forget about pre-emptive)strike by both the RAAF and RSAF would be the end of Indonesian aspirations at a land grab of any thing. I pity the Indonesian politician who blows his trumpet and unwittingly causes a conflict. People forget how jointed these forces are.
     
  11. rossfrb_1

    rossfrb_1 Member

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    It's hard to see what the worldwide political environment would be like in 50 years time. But the precedent that an invasion of NZ would set if it were to be allowed, just by other western nations alone, is unthinkable.
    The septics may not be happy with NZ's nuclear policy, but in such a situation the ANZUS treaty for whatever it is worth now, would most certainly see not just Oz, but the good old US of A having a say in the matter.

    Paul Hogan performed a skit many years ago when he was 'running for PM'
    The gist of which is as follows.

    'I intend to get the people of Australia behind me (so that I get elected).
    To do this we need to unite behind a conflict such as an invasion (ala Falklands).
    We don't know who we are going to invade just yet, but don't go planning a holiday in NZ.'
    He also said he would remove all taxes on beer and cigarettes.

    Plus as lucasnz pointed out, that NZ sheep might prove an obstacle
    http://www.blacksheep-themovie.com/

    Plus I wouldn't take this too seriously
    http://catandv.vox.com/library/video/6a00e3989f7c4d000500fa968f272e0003.html :eek:nfloorl:

    cheers
    rb
     
  12. proletarian

    proletarian New Member

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    Thanks for your patience with my naive questions.

    Actually, I wasn't thinking of Indonesia in particular. China, Russia, Bangladesh, Korea and in fact any country with a sizeable population can be tempted to run a small guerilla-type operation to conquer a valuable piece of land.

    I find that very concerning too. It may be the main reason of my concern, in fact.

    The ships will be regular cargo ships, normally registered and scheduled. I can't see what power (the harbour pilot's army knife?) can stop them.

    I have in mind a guerilla-type operation. Soldiers would steal civilian 4WD and (within hours) NZ army vehicles.

    Hahaha Switzerland is landlocked... BUT does have 10 military patrol boats, armed with two 12.7mm machine guns patrolling its lakes. New Zealand has 17,000km of coastline, and 13 sea-going vessels.

    1. Capability: almost any nation with a sizeable commercial fleet.

    2. Intent: That's what the NZ politicians say, something along the lines: "We have asked, and no one told us they want to invade us; so there is no need for a strong defence force." Hmmmmmmmm.

    3. Geography: Unlike Australia, NZ has no snakes, no dangerous animals, large snowy plains or dry deserts. If troops do reach New Zealand, their progress will be easy.

    Anyway, thanks again for your replies; it has been most interesting!
     
  13. I think you'll find China, Russia, Korea (which one?) and Indonesia have quite a bit of more spare land then New Zealand does...

    Bangladesh has precisely one registered cargo ship. It cannot take "thousands" of personnel.

    Does NZ not control her own borders? Do thousands of people arrive and they are not handled by NZ immigration and Customs services? Do they merely pass through NZ's borders without presenting passports and visas?

    What are the visa requirements for Russian, Chinese, North Korean, Indonesian or Bangladeshian nationals?

    Several thousands appearing within a short period of time, wouldn't ring alarm bells?

    This scenario is ridiculous.

    And NZ wouldn't activate it's Army, which consists of 2x regular infantry battalions, 4x territorial battalions, special forces and support units?

    ALL of whom would have weapons?

    I'm aware of that. My point was in relation to the budget they and NZ have to spend.

    Switzerland is NOT required to maintain a military and civilian maritime patrol force (air and sea) it does not maintain an air and sea based transport force.

    NZ isn't willing to spend anymore. I wish it were otherwise and NZ could maintain a reasonable air combat capability, but that is not the case. Drawing parallels between the two is a waste of time given the geographical and threat differences between the two.

    Once again, you seem to think that such a nation is somehow capable of sneaking in thousands of military troops through NZ's borders, without detection or alerting anyone that a situation is or might be occurring.

    You focus on an alleged lack of response capability, ignorning that NZ possesses a reasonably capable, if small light infantry based army, with armoured and airborne assets with significant direct and indirect fire support capabilities.

    Your enemy is going to be locked into a Country with no logistical support assets, no mobility other than whatever civilian based motor vehicles they can steal.

    No weapons, other than what the force can steal itself. No communications capability. Do you think man-packed and trunk based radios won't be detected by Xray, perhaps?

    Your second wave force is relying on the fact that it is allowed to enter NZ waters without interception by NZ maritime authorities and declaration of cargo.

    Sorry, but I find this scenario ridiculous. Any such assault will be a suicide mission.

    1. The NZ Army with it's full range of capabilities will be brought to bear. NZ's allies, Australia and the USA will cut off any attempts to reinforce or resupply this invasion force and will deploy forces to assist NZ Army in mopping up this "guerilla force".

    Don't take it personally, but any such idea needs to be thought through a bit better...

    Intelligence agencies keep an eye on persons entering Countries, moreso since 9/11. Thousands of male persons suddenly entering NZ on "tourist visas" etc, from Indonesia, Bangladesh, North Korea, China or Russia will set off enormous warning bells...
     
  14. dave_kiwi

    dave_kiwi New Member Verified Defense Pro

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    Actually I think you under sell the geography & weather of New Zealand. It's not quite the benign place you think it is. :). Quite a few people serious under estimate both the land & the weather.

    Way back in 1983 / 1984 was dong my initial training at RNZAF Woodbourne (Blenheim, top of the South Island), some Australian troops came across for an exercise, ( talking mid feb to mid march from memory - you know, summer :) and ended up with some serious cases of hypothermia - as they have brought "summer" uniforms. Conversely, the NZ Army troops, that were taking part, were all "snug as bugs in da rugs". (Believe they were exercising up in and around Dip Flat / Nelson-Lakes area).

    Believe the Indonesians, Singaporeans have also been through this -- mid summer can still bloody cold when ya up in da hills (Even Waiouru is something like 2600 feet above sea level - cold enough even in mid summer when ya riding ya motorbike), all you need is a good southerly and :). Sort of mistake ya make once -- but I think once would be enough.

    Look at the NZ Herald -- how many stories do you see where some over seas tourist serious under estimated our "benign" conditions and get into trouble. Even the NZ Army learnt the hard way -- remember the fiasco on Rupheau / Tongariro.

    I for one wouldn't want to be slogging around the Central North Island on foot .
     
  15. StingrayOZ

    StingrayOZ Well-Known Member

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    A bigger problem is not a whole sale invasion of homes in NZ, but wholesale exploitation of NZ resources within its EEC zone and antarctic zone. A huge area, and one where if natural resources are required, could become a large amount of trouble.

    This combined with soft invasion and control (economic, intelligence, diplomatic influence) could conciderably change NZ international status to something akin to a puppet state where gunboat economics push her to sign any "shared development of resource" agreement.

    Australia and US aren't going to fight for nz personal resources and wealth so there is no magic treaty protection to stop wholesale poaching, stealing/exploitation of NZ off coast resources.

    NZ doesn't have to keep all its capability for itself but work very closely with allies and ensure effective aggreements are made particularly with Australia. If the US became very isolationist or extremely distracted elsewhere other major powers may think its a good time to start peeling at the edges.

    Australia has the sort of capability (or soon would) to repell any fanciful invasion of NZ. There would be two amphibious assault ships each with over 1000 troops, half a dozen frigates, C-17 airlifting, Tigers providing close in support, large civillian ferries also shipping over personel and equipment while F-18's would secure and sanitise the airspace and perform antishipping. Subs would lock up any supply/support shipping. Australia is positioning itself to have a ready force able to move in and secure any pacific (and some asian nations) that finds itself on the verge of collapse, through contested amphibious assault (not just a landing).

    Any nation would have a hard time convincing Australia that it was planning to invade NZ and not Australia as it moved past Australia's accoustic sensor network, JORN system, local radar systems and military assets towards Australia's soft belly.

    However a more complex situtation would be if say the chinese (or insert any other major non western power) set up a mine/oil platform on NZ Antartic claim or ECC. Then the cause isn't so clear cut, why should Australia fight to secure NZ tax revenue streams???
     
  16. Bozoo

    Bozoo New Member

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    Proleterian: I think you are raising a question that is of greater merit than many of the answers seem to admit.

    First of all, history is quite clear, any civilisation that does not defend it self, succumbs over time. I'm continually amazed by analyst's eagerness to beleive that history stopped in 1945 or on any other date you might want to think of as the final big war. People have always regarded their own age as the epic of civilisation, thinking that now, finally, mankind has learned, and choosing to disregard basic traits of human nature. Governments are like people, and people are basically like kids in the sandbox, I want what's yours! Be sure, war will come - maybe not in your lifetime, but it will most certainly come. Learning fades, quickly.

    Secondly, the future is very protective of its secrets. Its just impossible to divine how and why until you are on the brinck. War nearly always comes as a surprise to those who experience it. Not only overnight, although it for some people inexplicably seems to come as a surprise even when outbreak is iminent, but even within the time frame within which those who should have known better should have seen it coming. This does not bode well for the expert analysis recommending dismantlement of the armed forces because no obvious threats are visible.

    Thirdly, it takes a lot of time and money to reestablish armed forces once they have been dismantled. People, know-how, traditions disappear. The understanding of war deteriorates. But worst of all, when governments finally wake up to the understanding that a call for arms is necessary, you just can't buy them. Anywhere. So you fight the war with what you've got. In NZ's situation that would easily mean that your youth will desparately be defending their loved ones with shot-guns and Molotov cocktails.

    I see from the reponses you get, that Australia and the US are going to take care of you. And yes, they will - if they can. The US are actually a lot like John Wayne. They really don't like bullies. (Bush administration was an anomaly) And they like shooting stuff up. So they'll come, regardless of whether they have anything to gain. Don't know much about the Aussies, but my guess is they wouldn't take to kindly to someone knocking up the neighbour in their own back yard.

    But, and there is one great big but, if world order starts deteriorating seriously, there is overwhelming risk that they need to defend themselves, and that they will not be able to come to the rescue, at least not for some time. And both the US and, most probably also the Aussies, would protect their own when confronted with the dilemma of choice. And by the time the forces of good have recouped (hopefully) your sheep would have been slaugtered, your young men killed or imprisoned, your valuables stolen, your women raped, by whomever would take the opportunity while big brother is otherwise employed. That is when it would be nice with some stuff of your own. Just to hold your own for a while, and perhaps at least be able to defend your population against simple, organized thuggery.

    And that is what defence is all about. Not weapons and soldiers and tanks and guns and whatever shiny stuff and good looking uniforms you can think of, but the simple act of placing yourself between your loved ones and harm. Wouldn't you like someting to shoot with?
     
  17. Sea Toby

    Sea Toby New Member

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    I am of the opinion that New Zealand does not have a defence force just to deny an invasion, but to keep the peace and defend New Zealand interests abroad too.

    New Zealand doesn't want another failed government in the Southwest Pacific similar to the war lord governed Somalia nearby. Considering the economic status of her nearby neighbors, New Zealand should at least maintain a military capacity to enforce a truce, if not make the peace alongside their Aussie neighbors.

    We have seen the world response to piracy in the Red Sea and Arabian Sea somewhat lacking. I wonder what the world response would be to such piracy in the South Pacific?

    Yes, not much.
     
  18. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    As a fellow arm chair general, if you don't mind, I would like to respond to this point you made (and I'm not implying that Proleterian's question is without merit).

    IMHO, the planned acquisition of defence capabilities must be within a certain assessed threat avoidance matrix based on the advice of the military and even that of your country's military science organisations (to deal with the problem of imperfect information flows).

    The balanced development of capabilities (in accordance to military priorities and budget limitations) is both a science and an art form.

    On a personal basis (without consideration of country specific factors), for me, any starting point is a 'defence capability analysis' is the question of a country's ability to maintain at least air power parity. If the opponent achieves air superiority, the defenders may be potentially reduced to insurgency/attrition type warfare.

    I like this expression of yours. It is quite elegant. :D
     
  19. proletarian

    proletarian New Member

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    I like the distance you take with this question. You are the only one here who thinks that there is a hint of a risk for New Zealand, though.

    I notice that all the others consider both that

    1) the risk of an invasion of New Zealand is almost nil

    2) scraping the combat airforce in New Zealand was a mistake

    ... and I just wonder how compatible these 2 statements are?

    I guess I am partly relieved that you and others think that my fear of a guerilla-type invasion of New Zealand is ridiculous.

    It is very funny that, in the meantime, I visited another page of this forum, and that page displayed several ads about anti-anxiety drugs.

    My intention is not to be over-anxious about a possible New Zealand invasion, but to assess its probability. Similarly, when purchasing a new property recently, I took into account the risks of tsunami and earthquake - risks that 99.99% of New Zealanders disregard totally when buying a house. These risks are small, but they do exist, and the odds of them occurring in the next 50 years are real. I guess the odds of an invasion of New Zealand are much smaller, from what I read here.

    Very relevant, especially remembering WWI and WWII. New Zealand was involved in both these wars and is the country on earth that lost the most soldiers as compared to its population. So, probably because of our generally peaceful disposition, our army isn't that efficient to start with... and it looks it's getting worse and worse as more and more savings are being made over the decades.
     
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