New Zealand Defence Minister announces $571 million for Defence pay and projects

Line of Defence Magazine - Update

Budget 2024
$163 million for remuneration for uniformed personnel. Image: Ministry of Defence/LinkedIn.

Defence Minister Judith Collins today announced that the New Zealand Government’s upcoming Budget will include new funding of $571 million for Defence Force pay and projects.

“Our servicemen and women do New Zealand proud throughout the world and this funding will help ensure we retain their services and expertise as we navigate an increasingly unstable environment,” said Ms Collins in the announcement.

“Of the additional funding, $163 million will go to improving remuneration for New Zealand Defence Force personnel and $408 million to upgrading equipment and infrastructure.”

The additional funding includes $99 million of savings found from within the NZDF budget.

“Subject to Cabinet approval, a project will begin to replace the Unimog and Pinzgauer trucks, the NZDF’s workhorses, and most frequently deployed vehicles,” she continued.

“Together these remuneration increases and projects will help boost our economy while ensuring New Zealand is ready, willing and – crucially – able to play its part internationally.”

“Replacement vehicles will have integrated communications that will enhance interoperability with regional and global partners, such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.”

Other projects for which funding has been allocated through Budget 24, subject to Cabinet approval, include:

  • The next phase of an upgrade to the NH90 helicopter navigation systems and radios
  • Upgrade of the regional supply facility and logistics model at Linton Military Camp
  • Modernisation of devices and productivity tools
  • Upgrade of some digital services; and
  • Improvement of national maritime domain awareness

The Budget will also fund the leasing of 35 homes for Devonport Naval Base personnel.

“Together these remuneration increases and projects will help boost our economy while ensuring New Zealand is ready, willing and – crucially – able to play its part internationally,” Ms Collins said. “The world is increasingly unstable. We have only to look at events in the Ukraine and Middle East to see how quickly people’s lives can change.

“This Budget announcement is a signal that New Zealand is ready to step up and play its part to protect the freedoms that so many of us take for granted.

“The next step is to consider options for an updated Defence Capability Plan which will shape our future investment decisions around the equipment we need as we step up.”

In Brief:

OVERALL BUDGET PACKAGE: $571 million, most of it over four years

PERSONNEL: $163 million for remuneration for uniformed personnel

PROJECTS: $408 million, most of it over four years, comprising of $127 million in operating funding and $281 million in capital funding.

All except $19 million of the capital funding is forecast to be spent over four years from 2024/25; the remaining $19 million is forecast to be spent in the three years after that (2028/29-2030/31).

SAVINGS: $107 million over four years – $99 million from NZDF reinvested back into remuneration. In addition, there is $8 million in savings from the Ministry of Defence

Savings have been identified primarily from projects ending and a reduction in international and domestic travel, as well as a decrease in spending on contractors and consultants. Major projects are expected to continue as planned.

Defence project details:

Military equipment

NH90 Helicopter upgrade: Navigation and secure radios: The latest phase of a project updating aircraft systems, this project will deliver a new navigation system for the NH90 helicopter that fully complies with updated Civil Aviation Authority requirements, and complete an upgrade to the NH90 fleet’s encrypted radios.

The radio upgrade is a requirement to maintain interoperability with other Defence Force assets and with our overseas partners, such as Five Eyes and NATO countries. The upgrade will allow the secure transmission of sensitive information between the helicopter, other aircraft, ships, ground forces and Headquarters.

Military operational vehicles: This project begins the replacement of NZDF’s most deployed vehicles – the 40-year-old Unimogs and Pinzgauer trucks. Widely used to carry personnel and equipment and provide off-road mobility when working with regional and global partners offshore, and closer to home during events such as support to the Cyclone Gabrielle response, these replacement vehicles will also provide modern, integrated communications to enhance interoperability with partner nations.

Improving protection against maritime threats: Funding for a subscription to a cloud-based computer application providing a real time picture of what is happening in New Zealand’s maritime domain. The platform will be used by multiple government agencies and increase New Zealand’s ability to detect and respond to malicious activity, natural disasters, and potentially hostile vessels, including illegal fishing, in our exclusive economic zone and across the Pacific.

Defence estate and infrastructure

Upgrading the regional supply facility and logistics model at Linton Military Camp:  Construction of a third building within the Consolidated Logistics Project, a centralised warehouse to house the deployable supply company, regional equipment pool, camp quartermaster store, and goods distribution function for Linton Military Camp.

Homes for Families (Part Two):  Delivering 35 leased homes for NZDF personnel to support the operation of Devonport Naval Base. This replaces housing at Devonport and the North Shore which is being progressively transferred to iwi groups under Treaty settlement legislation.

Upgrading digital services: This is phase one of a project to upgrade the NZDF’s classified environment. This environment is essential to maintain secure ways of working with partner countries.

Modernising devices and productivity tools: This project will fund the replacement of outdated desktop terminals with mobile devices to improve the productivity of NZDF personnel and staff, both uniformed and civilian. It will also provide new meeting room technology and the ability to collaborate anywhere, anytime, to support mobile ways of working.