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An overview of the Australian and New Zealand defence budgets

What's in store for the NZDF and ADF budgets?"

Economic globalisation, terrorism and numerous other factors have fostered international defence cooperation. Old allies, specifically, New Zealand (NZ) and Australia, have become closer than ever in order to protect each other's security interests. 

The capabilities of the NZ and Australian defence forces differ considerably, but their objectives are typically aligned. However, are their respective budgets contracting, increasing or remaining stagnant?

Operating intentions often allude to the financial support a military body will receive over a certain period of time.

New Zealand's three-year defence approach

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) released a statement of intent for the period between 2014 and 2017. The contents within the document dictated the nation's security plan as well as outlined budgetary strategies. 

Operating intentions often allude to the financial support a military body will receive over a certain period of time. The NZDF described these plans, breaking down its objective into three distinct parts. 

Above everything else, the NZDF intends to secure its national interests. This entails providing ongoing protection of the nation's mainland as well as its offshore territories. Building up the nation's ability to defeat military threats and incursions is an obvious part of this plan. Other components of this strategy include working with intelligence bodies, acting as a consultant to chief decision makers and improving its ability to respond to crises. 

The second outcome the NZDF is aiming to achieve involves supporting international order. Participating in everything from humanitarian intervention missions to full-scale warfare falls under this responsibility. Any country which may have economic ties to NZ would receive military aid from the NZDF. For example, because of the country's close economic and social relationships with nations throughout the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, the country would likely come to the aid of Singapore if need be.

Finally, the NZDF iterated its commitment to supporting veterans and any associated affairs. Discharged personnel and others who once served in the NZDF will receive the support and services them and their dependants require to maintain a respectable standard of living.

Australia's 2015-16 budget 

Australia is aiming to achieve many of the same outcomes as its Pacific cousin across the Tasman. Advancing the nation's interests through military action, advancing the country's strategic investments and supporting the civilian sector as dictated by the government are the three objectives the ADF is aiming to achieve, as was noted in its 2015-16 portfolio budget statements.

What does the NZDF defence budget look like? What does the NZDF defence budget look like?

In regards to 2016-17 forward estimates, the ADF estimated that its strategic program will require $426,000 in funding to produce more than $167 million in departmental outputs. Departmental outputs for other military departments and operations are listed below:

  • Navy capabilities: $5.06 billion.
  • Army capabilities: $5.47 billion.
  • Air Force capabilities: $5.06 billion.
  • Joint Operations Command: $53 million.
  • Intelligence Capabilities: $610 million.

Australia's intelligence and security body will be responsible for developing security protocols, standards and approaches to accommodate the requirements of other defence departments. Supporting the Australian intelligence community's capabilities obligates the group to recruit and retain skilled ADF and civilian personnel.

To meet the group's needs, the intelligence group will launch targeted university recruitment drives, create incentives for personnel possessing desirable linguistic and technical skill sets and improving its use of online human resources programs. 

Similar objectives

Australian and New Zealand military personnel are already operating in similar regions throughout the world. According to the NZDF, New Zealand has placed defence personnel in Iraq and South Sudan, two areas which also contain Australian staff.

However, differences exist in both the number of active soldiers and deployment locations. For instance, Australia also has troops stationed in Egypt, East Timor, Afghanistan and the Solomon Islands. While 106 NZDF personnel are located in Iraq, Australia has 35 equivalent soldiers, despite the fact that Australia has the larger military force.

NZDF and ADF collaboration will continue for years to come, and providing them with the assets necessary to complete missions effectively is imperative. 

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