Review of my Defence Force white paper submission: 2 of 2

Question 5: How should the Government prioritise the Defence Force’s efforts between ensuring New Zealand is secure, supporting the security and stability of our friends, partners and our ally Australia, and contributing to international peace and security globally?

A.N.Z.U.S. is out of date. It should be retired or thoroughly overhauled on the grounds it was set up for a Cold War security environment, and not for dealing with the establishment of terrorist entities such as Islamic State. New Zealand, whilst maintaining good relations with Australia should be prepared for the fact that Australia’s military orientation is trending towards the United States, whereas ours should be focussed on the South Pacific.

We cannot make a really meaningful contribution to American national security policy, and it seems to be a mess with no clearly obvious long term goals or a sense of how to achieve any goals that the U.S. might have. In contrast, there are clearly obvious problems that we can focus on in the South Pacific and have a realistic chance of establishing credibility.

Question 6: How should the Defence Force operate as part of the all-of-government effort to protect and advance the nation’s interests?

With integrity and credibility. You are representative of New Zealand on the world stage. The successful protection of international law, operating with the respect of foreign powers, but above all else the defence of New Zealand are your core outcomes.

Question 7: What is the Defence Force’s role in contributing to New Zealand’s national resilience to unforeseen events and natural disasters?

Integral. The N.Z.D.F. played a major role in Christchurch and Canterbury during the 2010-11 earthquake emergencies. Maintaining the logistical capacity to assist other nations and help in local emergencies is essential. The ability of the navy and airforce to move large amounts of supplies was of major use.

This should be developed and individual emergencies learnt from so that the next one can be responded to more effectively.

Question 8: What should be the Defence Force’s role in the development of New Zealand’s youth?

Whilst the Defence Force would be useful for instilling discipline, developing skills and confidence, it should not be viewed as a one stop sort of entity for dealing with youth issues. Not all are appropriate for military style training, and nor given a choice would all want to enter the military.

Question 9: What capabilities does the Defence Force need to carry out its roles effectively, now and in the future?

All three branches of the armed forces need a combat component. Their first and foremost role is the defence of New Zealand. Our forces should be structured with a view to possibly having to deploy in a South Pacific nation with little infrastructure.

The airforce transport capacity should not be diminished. When replacing transport planes it should be plane for plane. The airforce does not need C-17 aircraft – two very expensive planes is not very good use of money, when several smaller transport planes could be purchased, namely because if one plane is grounded for maintenance or crashes there is only one plane that could be used. Airforce transports also need to be able to carry army vehicles.

To complement the P-3K Orions surveillance capacity, would drones be considered by the Defence Force?

Future frigates do not necessarily need to be A.N.Z.A.C. Class – would the Ministry of Defence consider European models as an alternative. Preference is a four frigate navy, but am aware of the cost of individual frigates.

Army vehicles need to be able to be carried by navy ships or in airforce transport aircraft. They need to be able to deploy in somewhere like the Solomon Islands. In the hopefully unlikely case of being deployed an operating environment where air power is being used, has the Defence Force given thought to how these vehicles would be protected, and if so, how?

In addition to the above questions, New Zealanders are also invited to comment on any other defence-related issues they regard as significant.

New Zealand has a clean reputation on the subject of torture and mistreatment of combatants captured. As the son and nephew of ex-Navy and Airforce personnel I view it as absolutely essential that this clean record be maintained. When dealing with multi-national coalitions we must be absolutely clear that torture/mistreatment of combatants is wholly unacceptable, and that the N.Z.D.F. will have no part in it. If necessary our service personnel should be given instruction by N.Z.D.F. staff about the rules of conduct that they are expected to abide by and what happens if they do not.

The Royal New Zealand Navy needs to be able to arrest intruding ships that have no right to be in New Zealand waters or waters of geographic areas such as the Ross Dependency that we are responsible for administering.

It however should not have arresting power when dealing with domestic protests on the high seas, provided that they are:

  1. Peaceful
  2. Not causing undue harm or damage

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