Government releases details on planned $20b defence spend

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee has released the defence spending capability plan to invest $20b in the upgrade of ...

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee has released the defence spending capability plan to invest $20b in the upgrade of equipment for the Defence Force.

The Government has revealed how it plans to spend $20 billion, boosting New Zealand's defence capability. 

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee has launched the Defence Capability Plan - a sequel to the Defence White Paper released earlier this year, which laid out the strategic defence plans for the next 10-20 years. 

The plan, launched on Wednesday, provides more detail about the costs of some major pieces of defence kit, as well as plans around procurement. 

Activists and police officers have clashed outside a military conference being held in downtown Auckland.
About 100 ...
JASON DORDAY/FAIRFAX NZ

Activists and police officers have clashed outside a military conference being held in downtown Auckland. About 100 people have blocked both entrances to the ANZ Viaduct Events Centre on Wednesday morning in opposition to the annual New Zealand Defence Industry Association Forum.

"Since the [release of the White Paper] the Government has agreed to the procurement of an ice-strengthened naval tanker and high mobility vehicles for the Special Air Service," Brownlee said.

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"It has also approved upgrades to the underwater surveillance capability of the P-3 Orion and has requested tenders for a littoral operations vessel.

CAMERON BURNELL/FAIRFAX NZ.

Prime Minister John Key and Minister of Defence Gerry Brownlee release the defence white paper outlining future spending.

"In response to the assessment of New Zealand's strategic outlook in the Defence White Paper, the Government will also invest in an ice-strengthened offshore patrol vessel, replacement of our maritime surveillance aircraft in the 2020s, and a cyber protection and support capability for deployed forces."

The Government would also invest heavily to replace the ANZAC frigates Te Mana and Te Kaha with modern combat vessels, purchase new aircraft to replace the airforces' ageing C-130 and B757 fleets, and digitise the army on the battlefield.

Weapons and protective equipment would be modernised through ongoing "rolling purches", Brownlee said. Money would also be spent on what are called protected mobility vehicles as well as enhancing security around strategic communications.

Of the single projects within the defence upgrade, the purchase of new airforce planes were expected to cost more than $1b, by the mid 2020s.

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Replacing the navy's frigates with modern combat vessels was a project that would stretch out to 2030, and would also be in the $1b range. 

The Government was looking to spend between $600m and $1b on the new Protected Mobility Vehicles for the army. 

Digitising the army on the battlefield were expected to cost between  $300m and $600m, while a number of projects around cyber protection would cost less than $25m and the Government was already in the procurement process for some of those. 

An upgrade for the airforce's relatively new fleet of NH90s and A109 helicopters was expected to cost between $100m and $300m.

"For the first time, the Defence Capability Plan includes indicative capital cost and schedule bands for major projects, to demonstrate the relative scale and timing of the investments," Brownlee said.

"For New Zealand suppliers, knowing the size and scope of capability investment opens up opportunities for partnering with other contractors to provide through-life support arrangements for major assets, or to suggest niche technology solutions.

"The $1.7 billion programme of capital investment to rejuvenate the Defence Estate is one of the biggest opportunities for New Zealand suppliers to be involved, particularly for the local construction sector."

Brownlee unveiled the plan during a speech in Auckland to the New Zealand Defence Industries Association Conference.

Protesters were gathered outside the conference, held at Auckland's Viaduct Events Centre, and had blocked the entrance to some attendees looking to get in.  

 - Stuff

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