27 Mei 2010
HMNZS Otago and HMNZS Wellington (photo : StrategyPage)
WELLINGTON - New Zealand's Defence Force (NZDF) will receive a modest increase to 2.85 billion New Zealand dollars ($1.89 billion) for the 2010-11 fiscal year, up from 2.83 billion New Zealand dollars, but the Ministry of Defence budget will fall to 239 million New Zealand dollars from 325 million the previous year.
The Army continues to absorb the largest budget slice at 843 million New Zealand dollars, up from 791 million New Zealand dollars; the Navy receives 673 million New Zealand dollars (634 million the previous year); and the Air Force sees its budget rise from 612 million New Zealand dollars to 643 million.
In a statement, Defence Minister Wayne Mapp said, "We have to fund sharply increased depreciation and operating costs. In terms of personnel, the Defence Force is shifting more resources to the front line. Our priority is to ensure the money is spent on the service people who are deployed on operations."
Priorities notwithstanding, that portion of the 2010-11 defense budget earmarked for "Operationally deployed forces" has been reduced from 95.6 million New Zealand dollars to 78.4 million.
Budget documents detailed key military and Defence Ministry priorities for the coming year.
Foremost is completion of the current Defence Review, which was scheduled to be released in March but is now expected in September, with the focus on "how well the NZDF meets the tasks that are expected of it by the Government."
Other key priorities include :
■ Ensuring the NZDF remains effective and responsive so that current operations, both international and domestic, are effective and sustainable.
■ Consolidating and creating new opportunities with Australia in developing complementary military capabilities, particularly in the areas of air transport, response forces for the South Pacific and the defense industry.
■ Effective management of acquisitions by raising the capability of procurement agencies, ensuring that a whole-of-life approach is taken, and looking for solutions that meet reasonable expectations.
■ New resource management methods to ensure that "value for money is evident in and pervades Defence."
Mine countermeasures spending also is down, from 26.5 million New Zealand dollars to 24.8 million.
However, funding for both the Navy's Seasprite helicopters and for the Patrol Force - four new inshore patrol vessels and two new offshore patrol vessels - has increased by about 5 percent and 25 percent, respectively. The latter increase reflects the introduction to service of the six new ships in the past year.
The Air Force P-3K Orions enjoy a slight increase in spending, to 179 million New Zealand dollars, while the fixed-wing transport fleet, including Hercules and 757s, climbs gently from 228 million to 244 million New Zealand dollars.
The budget for Special Forces increases too, from 67 million to 71 million New Zealand dollars, although the Security Intelligence Service has had its budget reduced by some 2 million to 36 million New Zealand dollars.