Does New Zealand need a military?

Differing views on whether New Zealand needs a military from Reddit:

Strictly speaking, does NZ even need a military?

Instead of just having a coast guard just like Iceland, and have external defence come under the responsibility of Australia, which is sort of also the defence policy of Ireland, when you really think about it.

As for peacekeeping operations Australia can just take over those with the NZ government footing some small part of the bill. Or allow the Americans to maintain naval and air bases in South island in return for them assuming the role of external defence with Australia, with the money saved on the military going into subsidizing social housing.

It’s hard to know why the US would want naval and air bases in the South Island, about as far as you could get from problem areas in the world.

A response:

The answer you are looking for is yes! There’s no two ways about it.

The 3 armed services play a major role in Disaster relief some examples from the last few year being the Christchurch quakes, the 2 cyclones that blew through the pacific 2 years in a row destroying villages in Vanuatu and Fiji , the Kaikora earthquake, and the large fires that happened on the port hills this year.

Not to mention our P3 Orions are deployed every second week to locate and supply stricken vessels at sea inside our Search and rescue zone (which is absolutely massive). and our NH90’s and A190s perform SAR missions in the rugged terrain of NZ.

The Navy patrols our oceans from illegal fishing and conduct SAR operations at sea, it’s also the Navy’s transport ship that carriers hundreds of soldiers, helicopters, and vehicles that perform those much needed relief missions into the pacific.

If your here to suggest that we don’t need a Defence Force because you believe we are a peaceful nation just remember only 2 of the Navy’s 11 ships are made for combat, the air force has no strike wing, and the army has no tanks so by international standards we are already very demilitarised.

A lot of these roles would not be able to be conducted by a coast guard and if you think Australia is going to deploy a ship, aircraft, or battalion every time we need a hand you are dreaming.

Could we save money by getting the Aussies to do a bit of our defence? They seem to treat Kiwis in Australia as second class citizens so they may not give us much priority.

The Government is proposing a $20 billion upgrade to our military over the next 15 years but Labour leader Andrew Little is refusing to commit to that level expenditure.

RNZ: Defence Force upgrade in question under Labour govt

Last year the government unveiled the multi-billion dollar plan to equip the Defence Force with new aircraft, combat vessels and weaponry, as well as a major upgrade to its land and property.

It would cost $20bn over the next 15 years, and the procurement process for the some of the new equipment is already under way.

Labour leader Andrew Little has refused to commit to following through on the 15-year modernisation plan if he became prime minister, saying spending on housing and education would always take priority.

“But I have to tell you when it comes down to a choice between doing stuff that’s going to give people a chance to either get a roof over their head, get the kids set up for opportunities for the future, then that’s got to come first,” Mr Little said.

The Greens tend to also be against military spending but their policies propose strengthening peace keeping capabilities which is mostly what our military does apart from search and surveillance.


  1. Corky

     /  May 8, 2017

    Any country not maintaining a defence force is abdicating its first responsibility to its citizens. We in the West seem to have forgotten our recent history.

  2. One of a kind

     /  May 8, 2017

    Obviously started by someone who lives under a rock and has no understanding of international affairs or NZ Politics.

    It would be a cold day in hell before the likes of the left would allow a large US military presence in NZ – all their tinfoil moments would be realised.

    Not to mention the required nuclear warship visits.

    The current US administration would not permit paying for NZ defence with no contributions from NZ – the Aussies are the same.

    The writer is in dreamland.

    • Blazer

       /  May 8, 2017

      have you got an enemy handy….or can we ..invent one?How have other countries maintained neutrality,never been invaded and prosper?

      • Gezza

         /  May 8, 2017

        The Swiss do it by being too dangerous to invade. You’d have to fight the armed citizenry for every worthwhile metre of their territory.

        • Corky

           /  May 8, 2017

          Excellent, Gezza. People have this strange impression of the Swiss being a bunch of yodelling prats. Sure, their topography gives them an advantage, but they are ready to rock should the need arise. I was given a manual from one of their defence corps,
          circa 1966. The stuff they taught had even me feeling queasy.

          • Blazer

             /  May 8, 2017

            well give a copy to the NZ MofD…then.

            • Gezza

               /  May 8, 2017

              It’ll only be of use to them if it fits into a defence strategy that includes national service, guns kept at home, the requirement for people to turn up regularly for training with their assigned units, our tunnels & other infrastructure of use to the enemy prepared for demolition, & a credible air force.

            • Corky

               /  May 8, 2017

              The Swiss are practical people. They can use their ski equipment for self defence purposes. In fact, all of their country would be a nightmare for invaders. The Swiss citizenry, apart from having arms, can improvise with a myriad of natural resource’s. As Gezza hints at….the Swiss way wouldn’t fit our military needs. Our big problem is the huge surrounding ocean expanse. That’s why we have all those pillboxes scattered around our cost line. I thought they were a cool idea, until my dad pointed out to me they were virtually useless as they could be shelled with ease from battleships miles out at sea, Nowadays they would be an absolute liability against modern weapons.

            • Gezza

               /  May 8, 2017

              In some areas any seaborne invaders could probably expect some pretty vigourous opposition to their unauthorised use of the seabed & foreshore Corks.

          • High Flying Duck

             /  May 8, 2017

            That reminds me of the old adage:

            What is the difference between a Swiss Admiral and a Dyson?

            A Dyson sucks and suck and never fails…

          • Blazer

             /  May 8, 2017

            we can just issue everyone with a Swiss Army knife…that should take care of everything.

  3. Geoffrey

     /  May 8, 2017

    Search, surveillance, peace keeping and disaster relief are all passive terms that imply that the sought and surveilled agree to the process. But, what does an unarmed assembly of young people do when those being encouraged to be peaceful etc decline?
    Peace-keeping per se has been a global failure providing no more than spectators for big guys bullying g little guys.
    The one time in our post colonial history that NZ has ever been threatened with direct invasion (Japan 1942) our defence strategy was “take to the hills”.
    I bet that would have worked. Our insurance on sovereign inependence while demanding that the U S and. Oz carry our defence needs is likely to be just as effective… Not

    • Very debatable whether New Zealand was “post-colonial” in 1942 Geoffrey. The outcry about Britain ‘abandoning us’ with the fall of Singapore implies otherwise … along with our decision to leave 2 NZEF in North Africa rather than bring them home to defend our own shores …

      I’d rather have peace-keeping that fails than the complete absence of peace-keeping.

      We haven’t forgotten our recent history, we’ve forgotten our real and largely economic reasons for supporting Britain … which in 1942 was head of a quasi-colonial and still very strong British Commonwealth … …

      British imperialism and [very real] US imperialism were being threatened by Japanese imperialism … an even more violent and virulent form of the same thing … along with the clash of Japanese imperialism with Chinese-U.S puppet-capitalism vs Chinese revolutionary communism and USSR totalitarian communism …

      Of course we need a military … and along with it we need to redefine our own true sovereignty …

      • Geoffrey

         /  May 8, 2017

        Thank you PartisanZ,
        Of course we need a standing military capability. Too many these days seem to think i is something that can be generated like a fund raiser. In fact, it takes decades to generate a solid core of seasoned senior NCOs and Field officers. Without these blokes we might as well not bother as it it is just to costly of our precious manpower to start from scratch (or a year or so) before launching them into battle. Add to that another decade to groom some useful headquarters staff if we are to avoid the shambles that accompanied our initial involvement in both world wars.

  4. Bill Brown

     /  May 8, 2017

    What does Hagar think? 😂

    • One of a kind

       /  May 8, 2017

      I think Hagar is too busy trying to work on an alternative income source after the abject failure of his latest capitalist writing enterprise.

    • Who is Hager?

  5. The statement about the defence policy of Ireland is a little strange. Who defends Ireland? Not the UK, for obvious reasons. The writer also misses a very obvious fact about Irish defence, and that is that IRELAND IS A NEUTRAL COUNTRY. Unlike Iceland, they are not a member of NATO – they are like Sweden or Switzerland. And who would want to invade Ireland in the 21st Century anyway? It’s not like they have anything worth having. Maybe there will be a worldwide peat shortage one day? Otherwise, not worth the troubles, so to speak.

    • Och … spoken like a true Irishman there young Mr Blair … and neither loyalist nor republican by the sounds of it …

      What about the weather sir? There might be some wanna invade Ireland for its weather?

      The Welsh for instance …?

    • Gezza

       /  May 8, 2017

      Aren’t you forgetting all these❓😳

  6. Oliver

     /  May 8, 2017

    Our defence contribution to war and peace keeping missions are so minuscule that if we ended our defence force tomorrow no would even notice. At the height of the Afghanistan war we had 130 troops in country, 40 of who are combat capable. Compare that to the tens of thousands of US troops. Trust me we won’t be missed. We should focus on civil defence and border protection. Also we could reduce the number of soldiers and increase the number of police.

    • Gezza

       /  May 8, 2017

      I believe we’re better off continuing to steer outwardly normal psychopaths towards the army rather than the police. Their personality traits are better supervised there than out on the streets.

  7. David

     /  May 8, 2017

    “The Government is proposing a $20 billion upgrade to our military over the next 15 years but Labour leader Andrew Little is refusing to commit to that level expenditure.”

    This money isn’t an upgrade, it’s simply to replace equipment that is clapped out. No additional capacity will be gained. Not spending the money means a commitment to reducing the level of capacity.

  8. John Schmidt

     /  May 8, 2017

    No one knows what the world will be like in 5 years 10 years and so on. Once a capability is gone it is gone forever. We maybe safe today but will we be safe in 5 or 10 years or beyond. Terrorism has shown it does not take much effort to bring a country to its knees. Our armed forces may not be much but they are better than nothing in an unpredictable world.

  1. Does New Zealand need a military? – NZ Conservative Coalition