TODAY |

Government outlines $20b Defence spend - 'A humanitarian plan'

The Defence Force has released its $20 billion planned investments to 2030 in its Capability Plan, involving long-range drones, enhanced air surveillance and significant investments in New Zealand's maritime domain. 

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It was described by the Defence Minister as a “humanitarian plan”, involving long-range drones and significant investments in New Zealand's maritime domain. Source: 1 NEWS

"This new Capability Plan is a humanitarian plan," Defence Minister Ron Mark said.

"It readies New Zealand to lead in the assistance of our neighbours, and to contribute to the security of our friends in the Pacific."

The $20 billion investment to 2030 sees more than $1 billion put into maritime helicopter replacements, more than $1 billion into enhanced sealift vessels from 2029 and up to $1 billion for offshore patrol vessel replacements in 2032. 

Defence Force indicative budgets Source: NZDF

The army would see an increase to 6000 personnel by 2035, the air force would be using $1 billion to replace the C-130 Hercules planes and would be looking to invest in long range drones after 2030.

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More than $1 billion is going towards five new replacement “Super Hercules” planes. Source: 1 NEWS

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said upgrading the Hercules fleet was essential. 

"When you look at the resources we use the most… we use [the Hercules fleet] to get to Antarctica - it’s what we use to deploy our aid when there's a natural disaster in the Pacific, it's our Hercules that are utilised.

"They're an incredibly important asset for us and they're very old," she added. "These are planes from the 1960s. We need them to do a job for us and increasingly they’re not up to doing that job."

Mr Mark said the Capability Plan "readies New Zealand to lead in the assistance of our neighbours, and to contribute to the security of our friends in the Pacific". 

Read: Climate change identified as one of the most significant security threats NZ Defence Force will face

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More than a billion will go towards replacing the nation’s ageing Hercules fleet. Source: 1 NEWS

"To improve maritime domain awareness, the plan includes an enhanced maritime awareness capability to complement the P-8s, maritime satellite surveillance, and long range unmanned aerial vehicles," he said. "Replacements are also planned for the maritime helicopter and offshore patrol vessel fleets."

National's Mark Mitchell said the plan was reconfirming the former Government was "on the right track with our 2016 Defence Capability Plan".

"[The Government] have done a refresh, we would have done the same thing in Government," he said. "Fundamentally, it looks pretty good."

His only criticism was he thought the Government were "ignoring" the Defence Estate Regeneration - the framework for management and use of Defence infrastructure and facilities. 

"We are very concerned about that," he said.