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New Zealand promises improved ISR capabilities

Wellington, New Zealand
New Zealand recently released its defence white paper which has set parameters for the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) for the next 25 years.

The paper promises a new type of ship for the Navy, new multirole aircraft for the Air Force and the creation of a combined arms task force of 800 soldiers, as well as improved intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities including satellite imagery, provided the NZDF can “reprioritise” existing funding.

The paper says New Zealand benefits from partnership with the US, and adds that New Zealand’s own security is enhanced by Australia’s investment in its national defence.
However, it also says that the differences between the defence forces of the two countries are likely to grow over the next 25 years “as Australia continues to invest more heavily in high-end military capabilities.”

Releasing the paper, Prime Minister John Key said, “It is vital that we have a blueprint of the strategic and defence challenges for New Zealand over the next 25 years.” It is the first such document since 1997 and requires the NZDF to make significant changes in order to redistribute funds to “sustain and build front-line capabilities.” Defence Minister Wayne Mapp said that this means employing military personnel in military jobs and having civilian staff in roles that do not require military skills such as photography, gymnasium management, logistics, training and education.

A so-called Value-for-Money study has determined that, regardless of rank, military personnel cost 18,500 New Zealand dollars (USD 14,200) more each year than civilian staff and as many as 1,400 uniformed jobs are expected to be done in future by civilian staff.

Fiscal guidelines included in the paper say the NZDF will free up or reprioritise as much as 400 million New Zealand dollars on an annual recurring basis by 2014-15.

Source: Defence News