Strategic Defence Policy Statement 2018 Launched

  • Hon Ron Mark

Defence Minister Ron Mark has today launched the Government’s Strategic Defence Policy Statement 2018.

The Policy Statement updates New Zealand’s strategic Defence policy settings to reflect the Coalition Government’s foreign policy and national security priorities. 

“There have been significant developments in the global strategic environment since the Defence policy settings were last reviewed in 2016’s White Paper,” says Ron Mark.

“We live in turbulent times, the world is changing and there has been a re-emergence of Great Power competition.  It is also important that we align Defence Strategy with the values and principles of the new coalition Government,” says Ron Mark.

The Strategic Defence Policy Statement 2018 introduces new elements to New Zealand’s Defence policy settings, including a new set of Defence policy principles and the Community, Nation and World framework to reflect both long-standing expectations of Defence and this Government’s priorities.

“The Statement recognises the value that Defence provides to New Zealand’s community and environmental wellbeing, and to national resilience. It will form the basis for the Government’s future Defence decisions,” says Ron Mark.

The Policy Statement emphasises: 

  • The importance of the Defence Force delivering value for New Zealand’s communities
  • New Zealand’s responsibilities as a Pacific nation
  • Addressing the impacts of climate change and protecting the natural environment
  • Maintaining the international rules-based order which is crucial to safeguarding and promoting New Zealand’s interests and wellbeing
  • The importance of contributing to New Zealand’s key security partnerships

“This is the first time New Zealand’s defence policy has recognised the impact of climate change,” says Ron Mark.

“Not only will the impacts of climate change contribute to instability and insecurity around the world, climate change will increase the demands on the New Zealand Defence Force to respond to natural disasters here at home and in the Pacific.

“The Policy Statement sets out a challenging strategic environment for New Zealand, in which the international rules-based order is coming under pressure from a range of forces.  The effects of these forces are playing out across the globe, including in New Zealand’s neighbourhood, from Antarctica to the South Pacific.

“As a small state, New Zealand relies on the international rules-based order and multilateral approaches – alongside its international partnerships – to protect its interests and amplify its ability to be a positive global contributor.

“New Zealanders by nature are people who want to play their part.  We don’t want to sit idle as vulnerable nations and communities face injustice or hardship.

“The Defence Force is a key tool with which the Government can help nations and communities.  Whether it be through responding to natural disasters, helping protect fisheries and natural resources, or at the sharper end, contributing to coalition and peace support operations.

“This Government backs the Defence Force and is well aware of the value it provides New Zealand.

“We will now turn our attention to reviewing the Defence Capability Plan.  This will build on the Strategic Policy Statement 2018 and determine the capabilities that the Defence Force will require to give effect to New Zealand’s updated defence policy settings. That review will be completed by the end of 2018,” says Ron Mark.