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NZ Defence Force gets huge $1 billion cash injection in Budget

Newshub logoNewshub 14/05/2020 Vita Molyneux
a close up of a black bag: Watch the Newshub Nation livestream of the Government's Budget 2020 announcement. © Image - Getty; Video - Newshub Nation Watch the Newshub Nation livestream of the Government's Budget 2020 announcement.

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is receiving more than a billion dollars in funding after what the Defence Minister has called a "busy year".

The 2020 'Rebuilding Together' Budget has allocated a $1.77 billion boost to New Zealand's Navy, Army and Air Force so they can "continue to deliver".

Defence Minister Ron Mark says New Zealand's forces have been run off their feet providing support for the Australian bush fires, the Whaakari/White Island eruption, and now the Government response to COVID-19.

He says the funding is vital.

Watch Finance Minister Grant Robertson's speech and the response in parliament here:

"This recognises the crucial role Defence plays in promoting the overall wellbeing and resilience of New Zealand, its communities and the environment," Mark said.

The cash will be spent on improving the Defence Force's frontline capability by improving military communication equipment, and maintaining NZDF camps and bases.

Almost $900 million has been earmarked to replace NZDF's aging Hercules fleet with newer planes - this funding will come into effect if it is approved by Cabinet.

As well as providing funding for active members of the NZDF, the Budget has not forgotten veterans; an additional $840,000 has been provided to Veterans' Affairs from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

The money will be given to access an information exchange system so medical information can be sent across the health system quickly and securely.

"As a number of our veterans are over 80 and rely on access to their GP for information about their health conditions, this funding will make that process easier in an environment where veterans are affected by COVID-19 alert level restrictions," said Mark. 

"Investment on Defence capabilities is critical to our national resilience and has been deferred for too long," said Mark.

Where will the cash go?

  • $676.5 million in operational funding over four years - this will support the Strategic Defence Policy Statement.
  • $666.3 million for Navy, Army and Air Force "readiness and frontline capability".,
  • $10.2 million to improve NZDF internal security.
  • $188 million in contingent operating funding over four years to support scheduled projects. Release of this money is conditional -Cabinet must approve individual cases.
  • $840,000 to Veterans' Affairs. 

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