Aotearoa peace movement condemns plan to spend $20 billion on New Zealand defense as global military spending tops $2 trillion
Defense Minister Peeni Henare took over from Ron Mark at the end of 2020 after New Zealand First failed to return to Parliament after the election. Henare has been Labor’s first defense minister since Phil Goff in 2008.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Henare indicated last year that defense spending of $20 billion should be cut a bit.
“At this time, I cannot say that certain parts of the [plan] under my predecessor will be scrapped, but an overhaul will seek to align with our priorities under this government,” Henare told RNZ.
Henare told Newshub that the Labor government is making investments in the Defense Force which are “necessary to enable them to continue to function effectively in all of their needs”, including the role they play in responding to impacts of climate change.
“Since taking office, this government has committed approximately $4.5 billion to 12 major defense capability projects, including the purchase of four P-8A Poseidon aircraft and associated infrastructure, and the replacement of the C- 130H by five C-130J-30 Hercules,” Henare said.
“This investment is important to ensure the Defense Force has the capacity and capability to respond to security challenges such as climate change, including undertaking humanitarian assistance, search and rescue and disaster relief operations. disaster.”
The P-8A was designed and purpose-built to patrol maritime environments and monitor vessels above and below the surface. This includes search and rescue of the New Zealand coastline, throughout the Pacific and south to Antarctica, and disaster response in New Zealand and the Pacific.
“In terms of New Zealand’s overall level of defense spending and investment, this government has already made significant investments in our defense capabilities, increasing defense spending every year since taking office,” he said. Henare said.
“Future expenses and all related decisions are to be taken into account in the budget.”
With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s controversial security deal with the Solomon Islands, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, in her Anzac Day speech this weekend, stressed the importance to uphold New Zealand values.
“New Zealand has a fiercely independent foreign policy, but that has never meant that we sit on the sidelines. It means that when we see injustice and a threat to the peace and stability that we all crave, we let’s take action,” Ardern told the Mt Albert Anzac Day Service.
“The invasion of Ukraine is a senseless act of war, costing innocent lives. It is a threat to the international laws on which a nation like ours relies – but it is also a threat for our sense of humanity. And that makes it a threat to all of us.
“And that’s why, once again as conflict rages on the other side of the world, New Zealand is there. Our Hercules is carrying aid and equipment, our people are bringing their skills and their expertise, our helmets and body armor protect their defense force and our aid takes care of those who need it most.”