The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) 2017 budget includes almost $1 billion in new funding to upgrade bases, ISR systems and procure a new ship, according to statements made by newly-appointed Defence Minister Mark Mitchell. Operating funding is increased by $406 million over the next four years, while capital funding receives a $576 million boost.
The increased capital funding includes $100 million to upgrade existing military camps and bases, $110 million for a modern logistics system, $28 million for EOD services on overseas deployments and $36 million to replace the ISR systems carried on the Air Force’s ORION maritime patrol aircraft. In addition, $302 million is allocated to upgrading communications on the frigate fleet and the procurement of a new navy support ship to replace HMNZS MANAWANUI, due to be retired in 2018. An additional $9.6 million will be invested in New Zealand’s Antarctic operations, of which $4 million will go into redevelopment of Scott Base.
Much of the funding will be dedicated to priorities identified in last year’s Defence White Paper. “It will also go towards a variety of new initiatives and projects in train already, including a cyber security support capability for the protection of NZDF communication networks, a new pilot training capability service, and more funding for our helicopter fleets,” Mitchell commented.