Minister of Defence, Peeni Henare today announced a new set of Defence Priorities and Principles he says will ensure the Defence Force remains in the best position to continue serving New Zealanders post-pandemic.
“The Government priorities for Defence will put a stronger focus on our people, infrastructure, and the region in which we live – the Pacific,” Mr Henare said.
“People are our most important asset and capability and we need to ensure our personnel are well-trained, and effective at serving our communities here but also be ready for international commitments overseas.”
Part of the People priority includes, an increased focus on culture and diversity, to ensure the forces reflect New Zealand and the communities they serve, he said.
“Infrastructure will ensure members of the Defence Force can live and work in buildings that are healthy, safe and fit-for-purpose.”
“Investment in defence infrastructure will also help accelerate the economic recovery by providing opportunities for local businesses. For example, at Base Ohakea in Manawatū- Whanganui, the new $250 million facility to house the P-8A Poseidon fleet represents a substantial economic boost for the region providing up to 400 jobs with 65% of workers coming from the local Manawatū – Whanganui region,” said Peeni Henare.
“In line with the Pacific Resilience focus of this Government, Pacific is the third focus and here Defence has a vital role to play in Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa; working together with our Pacific partners to maintain peace and security in our region, and responding to Pacific priorities including: extreme weather events and climate change, transnational crime, illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and discrete incidents where required.
“The security and stability of our neighbourhood is of the utmost importance to New Zealand. The accelerating impacts of climate change continue to have fundamental impacts on global security, but are being felt early and deeply in the Pacific. COVID-19 has also exacerbated some of the challenges our region is facing, including social, environmental and economic challenges which can threaten wider regional security,” the Minister said.
The four new Principles for Defence, also released today, also reinforce the diversity and values of New Zealand’s defence agencies, Mr Henare said.
“The Principles are: Angitu, which stands for success, effort and striving; Kotahitanga which speaks to unity, togetherness and collective action; Mana and Pono reflects the influence, trust and integrity in Defence; and Kaitiakitanga speaks to their work as guardians and stewards for the future.”
“These Priorities and Principles have been set alongside and are informed by the Secretary of Defence’s Defence Assessment 2021: He moana pukepuke e ekengia e te waka: A rough sea can still be navigated.”
Defence Assessments are generally conducted every five years by the Secretary of Defence, in consultation with the Chief of Defence Force, as independent advice to the Government of the day. Defence Assessments can help shape future policy development alongside advice from other agencies, but are not Government policy.
“He moana pukepuke e ekengia e te waka: A rough sea can still be navigated continues to find the two principal challenges to New Zealand’s defence interests are the intensifying impacts of climate change and greater strategic competition,”
“This assessment has helped inform the new Defence Principles and Priorities and will be further taken into account, alongside other advice, when the Government conducts its next comprehensive defence policy review to ensure our policy settings are fit for purpose,” Mr Henare said.