Minister of Defence Ron Mark has today released the Terms of Reference for a review of the Defence estate footprint.
“The 81,000 hectare Defence estate is at a crossroads; much of it is run down, and outdated,” said Mr Mark. “It needs to be improved in order to gain, train and retain our service people, now and into the future.
Today’s announcement comes three years after the New Zealand Defence Force set in motion the ‘Defence Estate Regeneration Programme Plan 2016-2030’ – a significant investment programme to address what was widely recognised as a critical under-investment in its estate.
With a large proportion of the Defence estate dating back to World War II, the majority of it (78 percent, according to Defence) has “less than 30 years remaining useful life with a replacement cost of over $3.2 billion.” Of this, 15 percent has less than 10 years remaining life with a replacement cost of more than $600 million.
“We need to be smart with our investment into the estate,” said Mr Mark. “So it makes sense for us to take stock of what we have, and look at what we will need in the year 2070. This is particularly important with the new capabilities identified in the Defence Capability Plan 2019, due to come online in the next decade.
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“To put it in perspective, NZDF is responsible for the third largest area of Crown Land and manages 58 sites, including nine camps and bases, across the country. With the changing demands and priorities on the Defence Force here and overseas I need to know what our footprint should look like in 2070, so we can begin to plan a way to get there.
“While it is important we undertake a long-term strategic review of the estate, it is also essential to keep investing in what we have so we don’t fall even further behind.
“This is why the Government has also approved a revamped regeneration plan. This Government is committed to improving the Defence estate and has agreed to an increase in the indicative funding required from $1.7 billion to $2.1 billion to 2030. This funding is part of the overall $20b investment identified in the Defence Capability Plan released in June.
“The review, plan and continued investment in the Defence estate will result in better working, training and living conditions for all personnel. The welfare of our Defence Force personnel is a priority for me. We need acceptable facilities in order to support and retain them.
“This planned funding allows the New Zealand Defence Force to continue on with the upgrade of the Defence Estate, while the review will provide them with surety that they will have a fit for purpose footprint to serve them well for the next fifty years,” said the minister.
The First Principles Review of the Defence Estate Footprint is due to be completed by 30 September 2020.
A Joint Ministerial Group will oversee the review it is led by the Minister of Defence and includes the Minister of Finance, Minister of Regional Economic Development, Minister for Infrastructure and the Minister for Housing and the Minister for Urban Development.