NZDF General discussion thread

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
NZ National Security Strategy.

Part 1


This is a multipart post with the first two tonight. These two cover my grounds for a National Security Strategy and the reasons why I believe that we are looking at future NZDF acquisitions the wrong way.

I think that we’re going about this the wrong way. We’re basically equipping for the last war we fought and not the next one that we’ll have to fight. The real problem is that we don’t have an overall strategy so everything is somewhat piecemeal. In any case we’re woefully underprepared regardless. This has been something that I have been thinking about for quite a while.

We need a National Security Strategy and I am using the term national security in a very broad sense. National security is more than just defence and the intelligence services such as the SIS and GCSB. It also includes food, fuels, medical supplies as well and any other essential imports, as well as exports. It also includes internal societal issues created because of changes in employment practices, internal migration especially urban drift, increased immigration, alienation of some groups within society, increased refugee and displaced person numbers especially within the region, regional instability etc.

Simon Ewing-Jarvie has launched a podcast series looking at the future of NZ in 2050 using statistics from Statistics NZ and elsewhere. Whilst it’s crystal ball gazing it’s based upon facts and he has been somewhat conservative in things such as population taking the lower end of the estimates. One number that stuck out was that by 2050 he said 40% of NZ’s population is estimated to be resident in Auckland and that will create all sorts of problems such as friction between Auckland and the rest of the country due to Auckland's domination of the country’s economy, political landscape, resources etc. So there is a significant amount to think about.

Another problem we have is that most of those in senior positions within NZDF, the political and bureaucratic elite are comfortable with what equipment types, force structures etc., that we have and are not prepared to move outside of their comfort zones, which paradoxically was something they would have done in their younger years, especially the NZDF personnel. Until that changes we will keep repeating the same mistakes. As Simon E-J said in his podcast series we were very lucky at the start of both WW1 and WW2 because both times we were woefully unprepared. Now we are in a worse condition than prior to either war and we cannot trust to luck a third time.

So how do we form a National Security Strategy (NSS)? It has to be a whole of government (HOG) approach and document that is applicable right across the government, so that when the balloon goes up every Ministry / Department knows what is required of it and can swing into action right away without waiting for direction from a Cabinet that has to decide what to do. That’s what happens now, hence a delay between the onset of the crisis and the response.

The NSS document gives the government apparatus the authority to swing into immediate action. It specifies the planning, preparations, risks and the responses that each Ministry / Department are required to do and who with. It details the limits and extent of their powers and authorities in the first response and then in subsequent proceedings. It specifies the responsibilities and actions that Parliament and the Executive have and are required to undertake. So it will have to be authorised by a specific Act of Parliament. The NSS will of course include the strategy for the defence of NZ and NZ defence policy. Ideally the Act that authorises it should include a provision that any changes to the NSS must be approved by Parliament with a 75% majority. This would include defence policy and capability. There would be a formal assessment of the geopolitical and geostrategic situation every two years with a report and recommendations if any be made to Parliament in camera.

WRT to NZDF it will definitely have a maritime focus, with three regions of concern:

  1. South Pacific.
  2. Southern Ocean and Antarctica.
  3. Northern, Eastern, and South East Asia.

South Pacific.
The South Pacific region is the home region of NZ comprised of the continents of Zealandia and Australia, along with numerous Polynesian and Melanesian island nations. Generally the region is peaceful with state on state conflict being rare. However there have been incidents of internal conflict within some states, such as the Fijian coups, Tongan riots, Samoan unrest and the Boungainville rebellion. The island nations are generally third world nations and struggle to find foreign investments. They have found themselves caught up in the great game between the great powers with the PRC using debt trap diplomacy to manoeuvre itself into the region in its continual quest for resources and influence. The USA has lately increased its soft power response as well, but generally leaves NZ and Australia to undertake most of the heavy lifting in the region below the equator.

Over the next 30 – 40 years lack of opportunities and poverty will force many from the islands to move to NZ and Australia looking for a better life. Simon E-J argues that as the Pacific Islanders depopulate and abandon their islands outsiders will move in from other regions due to their being forced out from their home regions. He argues that the world refugee population will be at a conservative estimate 230 million and possibly 1 billion people out of a population 10 billion people. Therefore we will be facing a situation similar to the Australian boat people problem only in greater numbers.

Alongside this will be the higher probability of failed states within the region and the internal discord that will occur. The possibly of interstate conflict also arises because of diminishing resources as outsiders have stripped the surrounding ocean of its protein and other resources. Flashpoints include Bougainville and PNG, Indonesia over West Papua, Fiji again with racial tensions between the indigenous Fijians and ethnic Indians, other island nations where internal order collapses and the governments are unable to operate.

Southern Ocean and Antarctica.
The Antarctic Treaty lapses in 2048 and prior to that will be subject to renegotiation. The treaty covers the geographical are from 60°S. However prior to that some state and non state actors will most likely attempt to circumvent the treaty bans on resource extraction and non peaceful military activities upon the continent. Within the surrounding waters illegal and unreported fishing activities will continue, but at a far higher rate than currently. There will also be more surface and subsurface naval activity occurring below 60”S as nations protect their assets in the region. Currently the VMF (Russian Navy) are believed to be operating a regular SSBN patrol in the region using a boat from its Pacific Fleet Base Vladivostok. They believe that if they launch their ICBM over the South Pole the US will not be able to react as quickly because they are oriented towards missile launches from the east, Western Pacific, Russia and over the North Pole.

Within the next five to 15 years the PLAN will also be capable of undertaking such missions so 60°S and below between the longitude of Cape Horn – Tierra del Fuego and the longitude of Perth or Aden, will have SSBNs and SSNs cruising it on deterrence patrols and undertaking ASW respectively. Those vessels will also be transiting waters adjacent to the Realm of NZ, not forgetting that there are some real deep waters off our eastern coast with depths of 2,000 m not uncommon, especially in the Hikurungi Trench, around Kaikoura, off the South Island east coast from off Ashburton south, and below the South Island. A submarine can hide in Cook Strait due to the flow noise from the high tidal flow of 9 knots and the morphology of the strait. There have been incidents of Soviet Russian submarines being reported in the Cook Strait area during the Cold War.

So we will face challenges in our southern waters and below 60°S to our interests in and around Antarctica that will not be in our interests. When a state and / or non state actor breaches the Antarctic Treaty and the subsequent agreements by undertaking prohibited activities on or around the continent, we are not in a position to counter those activities. Finally it will most likely occur well before the current Treaty period lapses.
 
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ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
NZ National Security Strategy.

Part 2


Northern, Eastern, and South East Asia.
This region whilst the farthest of the three regions is the one that has the most economic impact upon us and the potential to do the most harm to our nation without us being formally involved in any hostilities in the region. A significant portion of our exports and imports are either to / from destinations within the region or transit the region. We are totally reliant upon foreign shipping companies for all or our surface shipping requirements and in times of crisis any disruption to the logistics chain and shipping services has considerable consequences here. The current COVID-19 pandemic illustrates that quite well. When peer level state on state conflict breaks out within this region, commercial shipping schedules will be thrown into disarray with shipping companies completely avoiding the area. Because we are a small market they won’t necessarily see fit to visit our shores. We don’t have any ships of our own capable of undertaking a coastal service let alone a cross Tasman service to a hub in Australia.

Such a conflict would also impact upon our energy and medical supplies with most of both originating from the region. We also import most of our vehicles, clothing, electronics, equipment etc., from the region so when the logistics chain is broken we are in trouble, especially because we carry very few spares. Australia is in a similar position.

Other international issues.
The UN will most likely lose its influence and relevance by 2040 – 50 if not earlier. It will end up going the way of the League of Nations. The international rules-based system that we have had for 30 years will most likely collapse as well as more authoritarian nations withdraw from it and follow the lead of the likes of the PRC and Russia.

As alluded to earlier there will be a significant increase in the worldwide number of refugees with Simon E-J suggesting anything from 230 million to 1 billion by 2050. These refugees will be economic, disease / health, climate, conflict related, or a combination thereof. NZ will be seen as a haven because of its relative capability to grow food and its fresh water resources.

That’s what’s facing us and what we have to create a NSS for. It’s also what we have to structure and equip NZDF for, so it requires a complete rethink of how NZDF is structured and equipped. At present NZDF is as Rob C said earlier a Peacekeeping force, coastguard and aerial logistics service.

I want to delve into a couple of issues that are important to both NZ and Australia. One is national resilience upon which Australian Maj Gen (Ret) and pollie Jim Molan has written an excellent piece on. And the other is what the outcome could be for both Australia and NZ if the current political dysfunctionality of the US political system continues, especially amongst the Republican Party. These will comprise the next post on this topic.

I will go back through and chuck in some sources as well where I can.
 
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John Fedup

The Bunker Group
I think the timeframe for many nations wrt national security way past too late. Likely your last point wrt the US is critical. An electoral crisis in 2022 could well be Xi’s opportunity to strike Taiwan and then stuff hits the fan.
 

kiwi in exile

Active Member
thanks for putting your thoughts out there.

We’re basically equipping for the last war we fought and not the next one that we’ll have to fight. The real problem is that we don’t have an overall strategy so everything is somewhat piecemeal. In any case we’re woefully underprepared regardless. This has been something that I have been thinking about for quite a while.
totally agree. this is a point i have made before. Ditto regarding an overall security strategy. National resileince to trade shocks etc must be part of the plan. Especially given the impact of disasters, COVID etc in the past and the potential issues w/ PRC in the (near) future. Doubt anyone in any of the major parties has the will or ability to articulate anything coherent or significant in this area. This is where we need somethin akin to ASPI in NZ leading the debate and the MSM to make it relevant to the wider public. only then will it become a political issue.

Something I linked to post #5099 thats relavant to your arguement;
The All Singing All Dancing National Security Strategy Doesn't Exist

There is also a paywalled article on newsroom that looks promising. Too cheap to buy subscription. Their paywall tends to drop after a day or two (crosses fingers)
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
thanks for putting your thoughts out there.



totally agree. this is a point i have made before. Ditto regarding an overall security strategy. National resileince to trade shocks etc must be part of the plan. Especially given the impact of disasters, COVID etc in the past and the potential issues w/ PRC in the (near) future. Doubt anyone in any of the major parties has the will or ability to articulate anything coherent or significant in this area. This is where we need somethin akin to ASPI in NZ leading the debate and the MSM to make it relevant to the wider public. only then will it become a political issue.

Something I linked to post #5099 thats relavant to your arguement;
The All Singing All Dancing National Security Strategy Doesn't Exist

There is also a paywalled article on newsroom that looks promising. Too cheap to buy subscription. Their paywall tends to drop after a day or two (crosses fingers)
Thanks. I too am waiting for that Newsroom article to drop out of the paywall. There's an article on Stuff about the shipping companies and the current situation regarding empty containers. It's worth more money for them to ship empty containers to the likes of the PRC than to move loaded containers out of NZ. There are also problems in two of the largest Chinese ports and problems with the US ports due to inefficiencies.

For countries like NZ which maybe 2% of the shipping volume, the big companies may just bypass us entirely or only visit one port. That would be Auckland and it has been somewhat inefficient in recent times. The costs of shipping a container have skyrocketed and appear to be quite volatile at the moment. We don't have our own shipping line and we could be in trouble.

 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
A View From Afar podcast with Selwyn Manning and Paul Buchanan discussing the National Security Strategy. Apparently there is a working group in Wellington in a few weeks that will be working on a National Security Strategy.

 

Gooey

Member
A View From Afar podcast with Selwyn Manning and Paul Buchanan discussing the National Security Strategy. Apparently there is a working group in Wellington in a few weeks that will be working on a National Security Strategy.

Jeeze Wayne ... if this is the summation of New Zealand strategic thought then no wonder NZDF is but an armed wing of Air NZ and a pathetic coastguard. Both of these guys are products of the shallow kiwi media gen pool and their own agendas yet are heaping dirt on Australia as if history and geo-politic have no relevance. No tolerance for anything other than their own views and prickly as hell about any criticism from Australia (sorry, it's right-wing media attacking Aoteroa).

To say in one breath that we are a maritime nation and that distance no longer protects us, yet also say nothing about expenditure over decades as an average v NATO or Australia ... to say glibly that internal threats are as important as external ... to say that WW1 & 2 are shaping our NZDF / Army heavy and that kiwi has no warrior class apart from the Maori Battalion ... that China is not really a threat. Christ on a bike.

Crap. Crap. Crap.

If this is what's shaping the NSS then I'm off, packing up my crap and going to take up fly-fishing in Gore and smoking wacky-backy.

God defend New Zealand, cause sure as hell we can't with this shower.

PS. no animals or glassware were harmed during this rant.
 

MrConservative

Super Moderator
Staff member
This Australian right wing media obviously includes the Australian ABC then? Yep real right wingers the ABC!

Paul Buchanan knows better than this but probably feels he has to play up his more woke tendencies so his punditry aligns itself with the the neo-progressive woke media and their audience enough to sustain further appearances. When you attempt to tell it like it is whilst at the same time try to tell them what you think they will like to hear, it does become a fuzzy, unfocused message like what Paul has done here.
 

Gooey

Member
This Australian right wing media obviously includes the Australian ABC then? Yep real right wingers the ABC!

Paul Buchanan knows better than this but probably feels he has to play up his more woke tendencies so his punditry aligns itself with the the neo-progressive woke media and their audience enough to sustain further appearances. When you attempt to tell it like it is whilst at the same time try to tell them what you think they will like to hear, it does become a fuzzy, unfocused message like what Paul has done here.
Thanks for the explanation MC.
Makes more sense, what you're saying. It is not like PB wasn't making some really good points but boy the bits about not following Australia and China not being a threat. Crickey!
 

chis73

Active Member
And here we go! If we needed any confirmation that Labour and the current minister are just not committed to the Defence portfolio, here it is (for full effect listen to the audio):

Labour trimming planned $20b defence spend up

The $20b plan is no more. Sounds like the 2nd Sealift vessel may be outright cancelled, and the SOPV delayed further. Apparently all will be revealed in a few weeks. No mention of the strategic transport aircraft replacement or the 6000-person army, but I would not be surprised if they are being trimmed back too. Man, I'm so angry with these guys! What a bunch of muppets - they're definitely won't ben getting my vote! I think "Strategically incompetent" is the phrase I'm looking for.

However, the lady from the Greens was hilarious (let's cancel the 2nd frigate upgrade - priceless!).
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
And here we go! If we needed any confirmation that Labour and the current minister are just not committed to the Defence portfolio, here it is (for full effect listen to the audio):

Labour trimming planned $20b defence spend up

The $20b plan is no more. Sounds like the 2nd Sealift vessel may be outright cancelled, and the SOPV delayed further. Apparently all will be revealed in a few weeks. No mention of the strategic transport aircraft replacement or the 6000-person army, but I would not be surprised if they are being trimmed back too. Man, I'm so angry with these guys! What a bunch of muppets - they're definitely won't ben getting my vote! I think "Strategically incompetent" is the phrase I'm looking for.

However, the lady from the Greens was hilarious (let's cancel the 2nd frigate upgrade - priceless!).
Why does Ostriches and Sand keep coming to mind every time i see anything to do with the NZG and the declining security situation in the Pacific?
 
I find this incredibly shocking considering what is happening in the world, and close to home right now. While at home we have Cyberattacks that will result in people dying and I would hate to think about what is happening in our oceans. But at least this lot are consistent, make a large announcement and then wait, and wait and then not deliver.
 

Gooey

Member
NZ has an independent foreign policy (whatever that really means) but does not have a defence force to match; therefore, it needs allies. So says the National chap. Hence, why we used to have ANZUS formalise what is Geo-Politics 101 from the time of leaving the Empire.

Until the anti-US/nuclear brigade took over the lunatic asylum and common sense is replaced by .... what, hope, the UN, believing that the CPP is not an anti-democratic dictatorship?

Again, "God defend New Zealand, cause sure as hell we can't with this shower.".
 

recce.k1

Active Member
There's an accompanying and somewhat more informative article here. Note nothing has been cancelled as such yet (and existing projects are not affected i.e. P-8's/C-130J's and Frigate upgrades)! But it does also look like Labour are wanting to "stamp" their mark on the DCP (so it's no longer the former NZ First DCP. Children will be children, I suppose). Presumably it also means they can also not bother with public consultation via a White Paper? (If so, outrageous but typical)!

My guestimate (from what is being said) is that they will cut back on the likes of the LHD to something more cheaper (read less capable, as they did with the cancelled/reworked LOSC project & the original Project Protector's sealift vessel) and ditto the SOPV so instead of spending $1.5B the figure will be lesser. For these two examples the govt concern is that $1.5B will simply go oversees. However .... there is an opportunity here for the taking for example if NZ and Australia collaborated on the builds eg if the ships are built in OZ with Kiwi supplying modules and components a la the ANZAC Frigate programme then things may be more palatable for our hopeless politicians?

I don't believe our DefMin's views that our allies will understand (that expenditure will be cut because of covid) when we have witnessed Australia's expenditure racing well ahead of NZ (and out of sight)! Perhaps the OZ politicians could do us a favor (like with the recent 5 Eyes debacles) and call things out ... funnily enough our pollies were spooked and had to lift their game.

It's now up to NZ's Opposition Parties to call this out and commit to building defence up, especially with the CCP sniffing around - interestingly a public survey released a week or two ago showed increasing public "distrust"of the CCP's activities (can't recall the figures but it was astonishingly high - did anyone see that poll)?
 

kiwi in exile

Active Member
In a couple of pieces I have read over the past while, Henare always points out the Labour wants to put its mark on defence... XXX years since last Labour Defmin, etc.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern "was quite clear that she wanted Labour, us, to put our fingerprint on defence", but what that looks like will be influenced by Covid-19.
"I made it clear that I wanted to have a policy reset, in the first instance.
"You'll see a distinctive shift and the ability for Labour to be able to influence this ... portfolio but in line with our broader objectives, and that is obviously with respect to foreign policy," Henare says.
RNZ

But he never clearly outlines any real policy, values or directions.
Looks like Labour will be known for cutting defence spending and capability in an era of increasing geopolitical uncertainty.
Notransparency here about the cost saving options before cabinet/treasury mentioned in the RNZ article

In other news:
Lead, arsenic in soil at up to 400 Defence houses Paywalled,
Looks like the Gov't will have to spend money of the defence estate
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
There's an accompanying and somewhat more informative article here. Note nothing has been cancelled as such yet (and existing projects are not affected i.e. P-8's/C-130J's and Frigate upgrades)! But it does also look like Labour are wanting to "stamp" their mark on the DCP (so it's no longer the former NZ First DCP. Children will be children, I suppose). Presumably it also means they can also not bother with public consultation via a White Paper? (If so, outrageous but typical)!

My guestimate (from what is being said) is that they will cut back on the likes of the LHD to something more cheaper (read less capable, as they did with the cancelled/reworked LOSC project & the original Project Protector's sealift vessel) and ditto the SOPV so instead of spending $1.5B the figure will be lesser. For these two examples the govt concern is that $1.5B will simply go oversees. However .... there is an opportunity here for the taking for example if NZ and Australia collaborated on the builds eg if the ships are built in OZ with Kiwi supplying modules and components a la the ANZAC Frigate programme then things may be more palatable for our hopeless politicians?

I don't believe our DefMin's views that our allies will understand (that expenditure will be cut because of covid) when we have witnessed Australia's expenditure racing well ahead of NZ (and out of sight)! Perhaps the OZ politicians could do us a favor (like with the recent 5 Eyes debacles) and call things out ... funnily enough our pollies were spooked and had to lift their game.

It's now up to NZ's Opposition Parties to call this out and commit to building defence up, especially with the CCP sniffing around - interestingly a public survey released a week or two ago showed increasing public "distrust"of the CCP's activities (can't recall the figures but it was astonishingly high - did anyone see that poll)?
Unfortunately I have to agree with you. I am starting to think that our current Defence Minister is another Goff and Burton and those two were the worst Defence Ministers we ever had. However our major and only opposition party is busy eating its own guts and is more interested in fighting amongst itself instead of being a viable and effective opposition.
In a couple of pieces I have read over the past while, Henare always points out the Labour wants to put its mark on defence... XXX years since last Labour Defmin, etc.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern "was quite clear that she wanted Labour, us, to put our fingerprint on defence", but what that looks like will be influenced by Covid-19.
"I made it clear that I wanted to have a policy reset, in the first instance.
"You'll see a distinctive shift and the ability for Labour to be able to influence this ... portfolio but in line with our broader objectives, and that is obviously with respect to foreign policy," Henare says.
RNZ

But he never clearly outlines any real policy, values or directions.
Looks like Labour will be known for cutting defence spending and capability in an era of increasing geopolitical uncertainty.
Notransparency here about the cost saving options before cabinet/treasury mentioned in the RNZ article

In other news:
Lead, arsenic in soil at up to 400 Defence houses Paywalled,
Looks like the Gov't will have to spend money of the defence estate
The lack of policy and direction is par for the course with this government. Sometimes I think that they are running around like headless chooks.

The idea that our friends and partners will understand this shift is absolutely naive at best and somewhat arrogant. Ardern has a habit of picking fights with Canberra and this will really wind them up. In that aspect she's worse than what Clark was. This is going from bad to worse and I don't blame Canberra if they go all septic about it.
 

recce.k1

Active Member
Unfortunately I have to agree with you. I am starting to think that our current Defence Minister is another Goff and Burton and those two were the worst Defence Ministers we ever had. However our major and only opposition party is busy eating its own guts and is more interested in fighting amongst itself instead of being a viable and effective opposition.

The lack of policy and direction is par for the course with this government. Sometimes I think that they are running around like headless chooks.

The idea that our friends and partners will understand this shift is absolutely naive at best and somewhat arrogant. Ardern has a habit of picking fights with Canberra and this will really wind them up. In that aspect she's worse than what Clark was. This is going from bad to worse and I don't blame Canberra if they go all septic about it.
Mind you to Goff's credit he got the NH-90/AW-109 acquisitions signed off (despite project costs nearly doubling from earlier estimates) and was open to reactivating the Aermacchi MB339's (perhaps he may have succeeded if there wasn't a change of government in 2008)? But yes he did flip-flop in later years (ANZAC Frigate's original self-defence upgrades). Burton will be remembered for all the wrong reasons!

Jury's still out on Henare for me. He's still saying some good things (as in committed to projects on the go and those at the about to go stage), so I'm prepared to wait and see (and accept I could be proven wrong)!

Re-reading the Radio NZ report the problem to me seems to be his leader the PM (and Finance Minister). Eg PM Ardern "was quite clear that she wanted Labour, us, to put our fingerprint on defence". Looks like the PM doesn't realise the DCP's is more-or-less a continuation of her predecessor and mentor, former Labour PM Clark's govt LTDP Long Term Development Plan (some of the original foundations were from National's 1996-1999 govt). Which National continued with when they returned to power in 2008-2017, then called it the DCP, but with some tweaks and eventually added a new SOPV patrol boat. Labour/NZF 2017-2020 continued with the DCP but with some further tweaks (new LDP vessel and expanded Army).

The Finance Minister gets a honory mention, because he has been blowing billions and billions of the govt Covid relief budget loans onto other non-related pet projects and shoring up Labour's support with various interest groups just prior to and since last years election .... honestly, I would not be surprised in the slightest if this deliberate recklessness is why the NZDF (and other high-cost building and infrastructure projects) are now facing these cost-cutting measures, as Treasury starts freaking out about the spending projections and repayments?

Back to the Radio NZ article. At one point it says "Henare, though, is flagging more of a focus on upgrading bases and other infrastructure that supports defence force personnel." then later on it says "Henare says while there's some "disappointment" among the services ...". I'm wondering what that really means (and to which service), because the article also suggests there are "question marks" over the "timetable" for the SOPV and LPD (and their costs, which significantly would be spent offshore so-to-speak). Would delaying (and cutting back the capabilities) of these two Naval projects be a disappointment to the RNZN? Possibly/probably.

But I suggest/speculate the real disappointment could be the Army, if the government cuts back on the expansion to 6000 uniformed personnel. Think about it, the flow on effects would be reduced base redevelopment and associated infrastructure costs ...

For the RNZAF, they have been fortunate that the C-130J and P-8 acquisitions, and Ohakea hangers and related infrastrutcure are not affected. On the horizon though are the EMAC's project (however, would it be a loss for the Air Force if that was scaled back? Or given to a civilian contractor? Look at the RNZN and the IPV's - the whole-of-government agencies have scaled back their support and need for naval patrolling resulting in IPV capabilities being cut .... could the same fate happen to the Air Force in time? How exactly does the Air Force benefit from having an unarmed "air coast guard" capability? They need more "teeth" or military taskings, not more civilian taskings, surely?

According to former DefMin Ron Mark, the Seasprite naval helo replacement project was/is meant to get underway in this Parliamentary term ... perhaps that could end up being delayed? After all the replacement is not meant to enter service until the end of this decade which is still nine years away. I would rather see some delays than scrapping or cost thus capability cutting altogether, plus the government (or a change of government) could see these plans re-instated if there is enough internal (and external) pressure applied, once the government outlines its true intentions?

For a read of what former DefMin Mark outlined (in 2020) where projects are at and for the next couple of years, see this article (pages 74-75):

 

recce.k1

Active Member
I was meant to write more about the Army's expansion to 6000 personnel. To be clear I hope there are no cuts and the expansion continues as originally planned. (I was simply pointing out it is an easy target to cut funding).

As per RNZ article DefMin Henare is quoted as saying "We want to be stimulating our economy and how do we do that in the defence portfolio? ....". Well increasing the Army is one way of doing so, with flow on effects for the civilian service industries that would also increase to support the Army expansion.

I also disagree with the Manning and Buchanan View from Afar video/webcast in which they suggest the Army personnel numbers are too high in relation to the other services and with NZ being a maritime nation. I would say the planned Army numbers and expansions are about right (to plug gaps), if anything in an ideal world that 3rd Battalion would be raised. Why? Lessons (not) learned from East Timor to sustain a Battalion overseas (SE Asia or wider Indo-Pacific etc). To ensure NZ could contribute troops to support and sustain them if there are stability issues in the South Pacific, as well as concurrently at home (eg covid support, civil defence emergencies etc). I'd also go as far as suggesting permanently basing a Company in Australia as a type of ready reaction force (which could be rotated or sustained by the other Battalion's Company's based in NZ).

We saw Australia expand its Army during the Howard government years (IIRC), post 9/11 and ME taskings, and despite speculation here on a 3rd Battalion at the time it never eventuated. Look at their capabilities now, and their amphibious capability for their LHD's.

But back to Manning and Buchanan, they (and other posters here) are quite correct NZ is a maritime nation and should have a maritime focus, I agree, but that should be done by raising the Army to 6000 (at the very least), so they can also support maritime taskings better, as well as their land based taskings concurrently ..... but also expanding the RNZN and RNZAF!

Their personnel numbers are still around or less than what was planned post WW2, which was a ridiculous cut-back to set up the post war Navy and Air Force. Although it won't happen under this government, this is what NZ should be aspiring to in the longer term with defence expenditure rising to at least 2% of GDP like Australia (which is actually aiming higher). That would give the NZDF some of its credibility back in terms of new additional or expanded capabilities of the existing. But I know getting the politicians to support this is another thing altogether.
 

spoz

The Bunker Group
Unfortunately I have to agree with you. I am starting to think that our current Defence Minister is another Goff and Burton and those two were the worst Defence Ministers we ever had. However our major and only opposition party is busy eating its own guts and is more interested in fighting amongst itself instead of being a viable and effective opposition.

The lack of policy and direction is par for the course with this government. Sometimes I think that they are running around like headless chooks.

The idea that our friends and partners will understand this shift is absolutely naive at best and somewhat arrogant. Ardern has a habit of picking fights with Canberra and this will really wind them up. In that aspect she's worse than what Clark was. This is going from bad to worse and I don't blame Canberra if they go all septic about it.
You may be overestimating Australias’s interest in NZ’s approach to both foreign affairs and defence. I’m afraid our leaders may have written you off as contributors or serious players, other than possibly in having some influence in the Pacific Islands.
 

Gooey

Member
Spoz, yes and no. Apologies for being a fence sitter.

You are absolutely correct about Oz thoughts on kiwi hard power, IMHO; however, there are still very strong connections between the ANZAC Allies, despite significant domestic political tensions over the last few years. There are also still significant NZ soft power credentials in the South Pacific; although, that is porous and needs a maritime nation status fighting navy and air force to provide balance. As per 'recce.k1', that doesn't mean that Army should be starved either.

While this is certainly a political, bastards act with an F- for Geo-Politics 101, the real national disgrace is that NZ politics does not have a joined-up national consensus WRT Defence. The reason that across the ditch, our cousins have F-35s, Attack Class, Hunter, Hobart, M1s, etc etc is because of a national consensus on resourcing (ie. 2%). This is really something because the Oz polies hate each other ... a lot. I guess the CCP threat and building a national defence industry provides that unifying momentum.

If, and when, New Zealand GOTD gets its inwards-looking obsession pulled out of their collective arse's, are really interesting questions. Possibly more so than that great pub game of 'which James Bond movie, is the best'.

In the meantime, Labour has just delayed the ineffitable military build up that NZDF is going to need in this age of Strategic Compition. As per Galipoli, Greece/Crete and Singapore the people who will wear the above F- are the peps of RNZN, Army and RNZAF. IMHO.

PS. Pub quiz answer is OHMSS obvioulsy with Mrs Peel and Oz JB in a kilt. Classic.
 
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