Funding boost for Defence

  • Hon Ron Mark

Budget 2020 provides a boost of $1.77 billion in operating and capital funding to enable Defence to continue to deliver on the tasks expected of it.

“It’s been a busy year for the Defence Force. On top of our usual deployments they have responded to consecutive humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. NZDF have supported our Australian neighbours with their bush fire response, responded to the White Island eruption, assisted in the Pacific, as well as provided significant support to the All of Government response to COVID-19,” Ron Mark said.

“With the strong backing of the Coalition Government, we have seen the greatest injection of defence funding in decades, with $4.3 billion in operating and capital funding allocated in total across the past three Budgets.

“$676.5 million in additional Defence Force operating funding over four years has been allocated in Budget 2020 to support delivery of the Strategic Defence Policy Statement 2018. This recognises the crucial role Defence plays in promoting the overall wellbeing and resilience of New Zealand, its communities and the environment and our place in the world.

“This includes $666.3 million for spending on Navy, Army and Air Force readiness and frontline capability, vital military enablers such as information and communications technology, as well as much needed Defence Estate maintenance across NZDF camps and bases.”

A further $10.2m is also provided to improve the New Zealand Defence Force’s internal security capability.

Budget 2020 also contains contingent funding to support the delivery of the Defence Capability Plan 2019, including:

  • $898 million contingent capital funding towards the replacement of the NZDF’s aging C-130H Hercules fleet with new C-130J Super Hercules. Further details will be announced following Cabinet approval of a business case.
  • $188 million contingent operating funding over four years. This funding will support Defence Capability Plan 2019 projects that are scheduled for approval out to April 2021. The release of this funding is contingent on approval, including by Cabinet, of individual business cases.

“Investment in defence capabilities is critical to our national resilience and had been deferred for too long,” Ron Mark said.

“The Defence Capability Plan 2019, released as a result of a commitment in the Coalition Agreement to review the previous Government’s capability procurement programme, is a comprehensive and ambitious vision for the future state of the Defence Force, and this funding will maintain our momentum in delivering that plan.

“As I’ve previously said, progressing the procurement of the C-130J Super Hercules continues to be my highest priority as Minister of Defence.”

$840,000 has been provided to Veterans’ Affairs from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, to access an information exchange system, which enables applications and medical information to be exchanged across the health system in a fast and secure environment.

“As a number of our veterans are over 80 and rely on access to their GP for information about their health conditions, this funding will make that process easier in an environment where veterans are often in vulnerable populations, or affected by COVID-19 alert level restrictions,” Ron Mark said.

Today’s announcements build on other key initiatives announced this term by the Coalition Government, including;

  • The purchase of four P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft for the Air Force;
  • The purchase and delivery of the dive and hydrographic vessel HMNZS Manawanui for the Navy;
  • The doubling in size of the Limited Service Volunteer scheme;
  • Additional funding for Veterans’ Affairs, to support the wellbeing of veterans and their families;
  • New funding across Budgets 2018 and 2019 for the Defence Estate Regeneration Programme.
  • While continuing investment momentum, commissioned a First Principles Review of the Defence Estate Footprint to determine the long term direction of the Estate out to 2070.

“I look forward to announcing further progress on capability projects and investment in the Defence Estate over the coming months,” Ron Mark said.