NZDF General discussion thread

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I think there is something in the Australian document about investing billions in an undersea sensor network. Apart from the potentially prohiberative cost, this is something i would like to see in NZ and perhaps we could piggyback onto the Aust program- at least across our northern approaches.
One thing about a SOSUS array is that it depends upon arrays of hydrophones linked by cables. Unfortunately today hostile powers can interfere with the cables and play silly buggers, drastically reducing their effectiveness.
In my mind and direct threat to NZ or NZ trade will be maritime -surface or subsuface. (or cyber- but thats another conversation). Beefing up ASuW/ASW capability would therefore be my priority (NZ ANZAC and P8 launched LRASM/JSM deterrence).
I agree that the maritime domain presents the greatest threat to NZ, but the threat matrix is not just limited to surface and sub surface vessels, it also includes aircraft that can be the launch platforms for AShM and the PLAAF & PLAN H-6D is a very long legged aircraft.

There's no pussy footing around the issue, but the PRC is the main threat to stability and peace in the Asia Pacific region and the geostrategic strategic situation is deteriorating, not improving. Scott Morrison is correct when he compared the current situation to that of the 1930s and the evidence suggests that it's going to get worse. Some say that you can't compare the PRC to Nazi Germany, but there are similarities. Opportunistic land grabs, in the PRC case building illegal reclamation structures in the SCS; the persecution of Uighurs because of their race and religion; bullying of neighbouring countries and others; the disregard and ignoring of international treaties and laws.

In the 1930s NZ buried its own head in the sand until it was almost to late. This time we cannot afford to do the same because we won't get the same warning period and we won't be able to rearm like we were able to in WW2, because the US is not in a position to manufacture arms like it did then. It doesn't have the industrial capability, plus weapons and platforms are far more complicated today.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
COVID’s only positive has been the wake up message to many countries that they need to be better prepared generally but also key stuff needs to be manufactured domestically even if this is more costly. Whether nations follow up on this....?
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Not really defence per se but bears thinking about in terms of wider strategic policy
military-leaders-warn-australia-prepare-for-worse-coronavirus

Given our geographical isolation and dependence on shipping- fuel storage and security is also a concern. I like the australian idea of purchasing offshore oil supply and storing it in the US while prices are low.
Australia must fast-track new domestic storage to ensure fuel security | The Strategist
It's great storing it in US until you urgently require it and need to transport it. If it's wartime either the US will appropriate it or there's a good possibility of it being sunk during transport. Also fuels have a finite shelf life so any in storage need to be used and replaced. That's why domestic storage is best, because you are cycling fuels through the storage system.
 

ASSAIL

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
It's great storing it in US until you urgently require it and need to transport it. If it's wartime either the US will appropriate it or there's a good possibility of it being sunk during transport. Also fuels have a finite shelf life so any in storage need to be used and replaced. That's why domestic storage is best, because you are cycling fuels through the storage system.
They have purchased crude which will keep without worry.
it doesn’t make sense for the US to “appropriate” the stock because it would need to be replaced and that would be at a higher price as it was purchased at historic lows.
The intent is to eventually acquire sufficient storage onshore but that will take time.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
In a crisis the US will appropriate and as for replacement it will be on their terms. Australia needs a domestic storage solution ASAP.
 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
Not really defence per se but bears thinking about in terms of wider strategic policy
military-leaders-warn-australia-prepare-for-worse-coronavirus

Given our geographical isolation and dependence on shipping- fuel storage and security is also a concern. I like the australian idea of purchasing offshore oil supply and storing it in the US while prices are low.
Australia must fast-track new domestic storage to ensure fuel security | The Strategist
Relating to this, how much of NZ's (and Australia for that matter) petroleum products are imported refined product vs. imported crude?

While I certainly this both NZ and Australia should at least have domestic storage for energy needs, if either country actually imports most of their refined product then domestic storage of crude (which can typically be stored for longer periods more easily) becomes both less valuable and less important. I bring this point up because I know the US has in recent years become a petroleum exporter based upon the volume of product which passes through US refineries before getting exported.
 

CJR

Member
Relating to this, how much of NZ's (and Australia for that matter) petroleum products are imported refined product vs. imported crude?
Australia's refineries produced about 29,000 Megaliters (Table 2) during the 2018-19 financial year with about 20% of the feedstock sources from local crude (though, local crude production is actually about 18,000ML... but lotsa light condensate and similar rather than the heavier fractions). That's against annual liquid petroleum product sales during the same financial year of about 60,000 ML (Table 3 at previous link). So in Australia's case about 50%.
 

ASSAIL

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
In a crisis the US will appropriate and as for replacement it will be on their terms. Australia needs a domestic storage solution ASAP.
The details are here
U.S. And Australia Strengthen Fuel Security With New SPR Arrangement and here Australia to boost fuel security and establish national oil reserve | Ministers for the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
The “terms” are contracted.
The purchase is here Australia to spend $60 million buying oil to store in U.S. reserve
 

JohnJT

Member
Relating to this, how much of NZ's (and Australia for that matter) petroleum products are imported refined product vs. imported crude?
In 2012 it was about 30% refined, 70% crude.

Pain at pump offset by $2bn exports
Northland's Marsden Pt takes a medium-sour blend into its feedstock, nearly all of which is imported. With Marsden Pt only meeting around 70 per cent of local demand, significant quantities of refined oil products are imported from Singapore, Australia and South Korea.
I know this is a little off topic, but it certainly highlights one of NZ's main dependencies on maritime supply lines and why having the ability to keep those supply lines open is so critical to NZ.
 
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MrConservative

Super Moderator
Staff member
I know this is a little off topic, but it certainly highlights one of NZ's main dependencies on maritime supply lines and why having the ability to keep those supply lines open is so critical to NZ.
It is actually right at the heart of the matter because economic sovereignty is a key cornerstone of national sovereignty and therefore national security.

This issue could be further compounded that Marsden Point is threatened with closure.


In my view this refinery is a national strategic asset that must be sustained just like the NZ Steel plant at Glenbrook and the Tiwai Aluminium smelter for national security reasons. The opportunity cost of not having them within New Zealand even if they make a small loss, is exponentially more grave in a world of increasing strategic uncertainty.


 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
It is actually right at the heart of the matter because economic sovereignty is a key cornerstone of national sovereignty and therefore national security.

This issue could be further compounded that Marsden Point is threatened with closure.

In my view this refinery is a national strategic asset that must be sustained just like the NZ Steel plant at Glenbrook and the Tiwai Aluminium smelter for national security reasons. The opportunity cost of not having them within New Zealand even if they make a small loss, is exponentially more grave in a world of increasing strategic uncertainty.
I certainly agree that the Marsden Point oil refinery, Glenbrook steel mill and the Tiwai aluminium smelter should be classified as national strategic assets by the government.

However how would we keep them here? Acquire NZAS from Rio Tinto? That's the only way that I see the smelter remaining open. Yes we would have to run it at a loss, but if it were to operate as a SOE, the only shareholder would be the government. Maybe the same for Glenbrook and Marsden Point. It goes against current government and Treasury neoliberal economic philosophy, but it may be time for a change, because of the current situation internationally. However we do not want to go back down the road of 1960s NZ economic policy and later Muldoonism.
 
I certainly agree that the Marsden Point oil refinery, Glenbrook steel mill and the Tiwai aluminium smelter should be classified as national strategic assets by the government.

However how would we keep them here? Acquire NZAS from Rio Tinto? That's the only way that I see the smelter remaining open. Yes we would have to run it at a loss, but if it were to operate as a SOE, the only shareholder would be the government. Maybe the same for Glenbrook and Marsden Point. It goes against current government and Treasury neoliberal economic philosophy, but it may be time for a change, because of the current situation internationally. However we do not want to go back down the road of 1960s NZ economic policy and later Muldoonism.
James Shaw has been putting forward the benefit in terms of carbon outputs and negating the need for carbon credit purchases relieving the dairy sector of that looming cost. My suspicion is that the closure of tiwai is been pursued with vigour behind closed doors and the greens need this as some of their voter base has become disillusioned with lack of perceived progress on other issues.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
James Shaw has been putting forward the benefit in terms of carbon outputs and negating the need for carbon credit purchases relieving the dairy sector of that looming cost. My suspicion is that the closure of tiwai is been pursued with vigour behind closed doors and the greens need this as some of their voter base has become disillusioned with lack of perceived progress on other issues.
Just be careful. You are standing into danger because you are entering waters that make Moderators real twitchy. However I will try to reply as best as I can. IIRC back in 2013 Rio Tinto ran a similar ploy with the then National government who agreed to a deal with them but Rio Tinto were told then by the then Finance Minister, Bill English, that that was the last deal they would get from the government of the day. So after the 2017 election they tried the same thing again and apparently have been rebuffed. They like playing hard ball and will walk away, but they can't take their smelter with them. It's not exactly something that you can box up and move.

The thing about the NZ Greens is that although they label themselves as an environmental party, they have become a far left party, especially economically. They should have been more like the German Greens. But that's their choice and not ours.
 
I understand. My apologies.

And yes I agree that Greens are being perceived that way. Thats the grumblings I have observed with our friends who are greens voters. Its a pity Shaw seems to be a hard worker.

But I'll leave it at that.

Moving it back to strategic infrastructure - I think we lost that chance to maintain the sort of overall strategy they were built for. Rail was suppose to connect these big projects but somehow the economics of this didn't work out.

And with American shale revolution the economics for our sour stuff would get harder? And alot of overseas refineries are getting older. Ours isn't as harsh as venezeluan crude I am told but its not the easiest either.
 

chis73

Active Member
In my view this refinery is a national strategic asset that must be sustained just like the NZ Steel plant at Glenbrook and the Tiwai Aluminium smelter for national security reasons. The opportunity cost of not having them within New Zealand even if they make a small loss, is exponentially more grave in a world of increasing strategic uncertainty.
I'd agree with the Marsden Point refinery and the Glenbrook steel mill as national strategic assets. The Tiwai Pt smelter not so much. The key difference between the steel mill and the aluminium smelter is the location of the resources needed: the steel mill uses ironsand from the West Coast of the North Island and the high-quality coal from the West Coast to make steel, the smelter is reliant on Australian bauxite ore to make aluminium (the only thing NZ brings to the table is cheap electricity from the Manapouri dam). The Marsden Pt refinery, as NZ's only refinery, will have to keep going regardless of the oil price - there isn't a sensible alternative.

Speaking of strategic assets - how would people feel about the worth of a NZ State Arsenal - to manufacture weapons and ammunition for a strategic reserve? I'm thinking of stuff that could be stockpiled to supply the army following a general mobilization. If countries like Belgium, Croatia & Serbia can do arms production, why not us? We used to have an ammunition factory in Auckland (the tower where they made lead shot is now a historic site). Seeing how steel and wood (red beech heartwood?) are the strategic resources that we can produce locally - I guess it would be best to make small arms from them. A little old-school perhaps, but easier to do than high-tech industrial steel stamping or polymer production, given we wouldn't be looking at huge volumes. Just a few people and some CNC machines in a reasonably small workshop would suffice - we are in no great rush at present. Talk to someone like Beretta to license manufacture some of their designs. You could make bolt-action hunting rifles and shotguns commercially for the domestic market on the side. I would love it if the simple ammunition (for small arms, mortars etc) the Army uses could be locally produced as well, though brass and propellants would be a much more tricky thing to produce in NZ.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I'd agree with the Marsden Point refinery and the Glenbrook steel mill as national strategic assets. The Tiwai Pt smelter not so much. The key difference between the steel mill and the aluminium smelter is the location of the resources needed: the steel mill uses ironsand from the West Coast of the North Island and the high-quality coal from the West Coast to make steel, the smelter is reliant on Australian bauxite ore to make aluminium (the only thing NZ brings to the table is cheap electricity from the Manapouri dam). The Marsden Pt refinery, as NZ's only refinery, will have to keep going regardless of the oil price - there isn't a sensible alternative.

Speaking of strategic assets - how would people feel about the worth of a NZ State Arsenal - to manufacture weapons and ammunition for a strategic reserve? I'm thinking of stuff that could be stockpiled to supply the army following a general mobilization. If countries like Belgium, Croatia & Serbia can do arms production, why not us? We used to have an ammunition factory in Auckland (the tower where they made lead shot is now a historic site). Seeing how steel and wood (red beech heartwood?) are the strategic resources that we can produce locally - I guess it would be best to make small arms from them. A little old-school perhaps, but easier to do than high-tech industrial steel stamping or polymer production, given we wouldn't be looking at huge volumes. Just a few people and some CNC machines in a reasonably small workshop would suffice - we are in no great rush at present. Talk to someone like Beretta to license manufacture some of their designs. You could make bolt-action hunting rifles and shotguns commercially for the domestic market on the side. I would love it if the simple ammunition (for small arms, mortars etc) the Army uses could be locally produced as well, though brass and propellants would be a much more tricky thing to produce in NZ.
I don't know. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc but these days is being replaced by lighter materials. So we could bypass brass if need be. However Lithgow Armoury in Australia makes a significant range of ammunition. With regard to weapons I think that it would be expensive and inefficient to set up a production line for short runs of specific weapons, unless we were manufacturing large quantities.
 

MrConservative

Super Moderator
Staff member
I'd agree with the Marsden Point refinery and the Glenbrook steel mill as national strategic assets. The Tiwai Pt smelter not so much. The key difference between the steel mill and the aluminium smelter is the location of the resources needed: the steel mill uses ironsand from the West Coast of the North Island and the high-quality coal from the West Coast to make steel, the smelter is reliant on Australian bauxite ore to make aluminium (the only thing NZ brings to the table is cheap electricity from the Manapouri dam). The Marsden Pt refinery, as NZ's only refinery, will have to keep going regardless of the oil price - there isn't a sensible alternative.
I would tend to agree that Tiwai is less tenable than the other two. That said it is something I wish could be retained rather than just shut down. Only three out of the top 10 major aluminium companies are not Chinese or Russian, that presents a significant risk if trade relations collapse and embargoes eventuate.
 

t68

Well-Known Member
I don't know. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc but these days is being replaced by lighter materials. So we could bypass brass if need be. However Lithgow Armoury in Australia makes a significant range of ammunition. With regard to weapons I think that it would be expensive and inefficient to set up a production line for short runs of specific weapons, unless we were manufacturing large quantities.

Just a small correction you are nearly right:

Lithgow Small Arms Factory, which is a subsidiary of Thales makes the small arms for the ADF plus some other weapons


Australian Munitions, which also is a Thales subsidiary makes explosive ordnance for the ADF at the Commonwealth own munitions plant in Benalla and Mulwala: they were once Gov owned under the banner of ADI Australian Defence Industries

 

oldsig127

Well-Known Member
Just a small correction you are nearly right:

Lithgow Small Arms Factory, which is a subsidiary of Thales makes the small arms for the ADF plus some other weapons


Australian Munitions, which also is a Thales subsidiary makes explosive ordnance for the ADF at the Commonwealth own munitions plant in Benalla and Mulwala: they were once Gov owned under the banner of ADI Australian Defence Industries

And for the sake of completeness, shortly RWM/NIOA will be forging 155mm ammunition at Maryborough (QLD) though I guess that 155mm ammo is of no direct use to NZ


oldsig
 
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