Helping shape the future of Defence

A programme of engagement with partners, academia, veterans, the public and Defence industry was undertaken to help inform the Defence Policy Review.

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New Zealanders were asked to take part in an anonymous survey developed by Kantar Public. The survey asked for input on two broad topics – the relative importance of the New Zealand Defence Force’s roles, and perceived threats to New Zealand’s safety and security in the next 10 years and the NZDF’s readiness to meet those threats.

More than 8,500 people responded, with a number of key themes emerging including:

  • All the Defence Force’s roles are considered important – with at least 50% of participants stating each role is extremely or very important.

  • Participants saw protecting people and territory as the primary purpose of a defence force. 96% rated defending New Zealand’s territory and critical lines of communications as extremely and very important

  • Of other roles of the Defence Force, the hierarchy of importance was relatively consistent across demographic groups.

  • Participants were asked what they thought the greatest threats to New Zealand’s safety and security in the next ten years were. China’s expansion / increase in influence, cyber security / warfare and climate change were most often cited.

  • When asked how ready the Defence Force was to face the threats identified, 34% thought at least somewhat ready, while 63% thought not that ready.

  • Few participants thought the Defence Force is extremely ready or very ready to meet the two challenges outlined in the 2021 Defence Assessment – climate change and strategic competition.

  • When asked for suggestions on how Defence can be more ready, responses all involved increased investment – in both people and equipment.

For the analysis of results, 37% were current or former members of Defence, 22% had a family or other connection and 29% had no connection to Defence. You can read a full summary of the findings here [PDF, 2.7 MB]

Additional feedback

In addition, members of the public and organisations were invited to provide more detailed submissions.

This additional input covered a broad range of topics in varying levels of detail.

Kantar Public highlighted some of the topics in the additional input as it wasn’t possible to succinctly summarise this in a way that re-created the diversity and richness of this input. It suggested that the additional input be read in the original for a full understanding.

The additional input included:

    • Suggestions for new/replacement equipment that may be better than what the Defence Force is currently using.

    • Suggestions for how to re-structure the Defence Force, including ideas for how to get the personnel the Defence Force needs.

    • Offers to assist the Defence Force is a number of different areas.

    • The identification of additional safety and security threats to New Zealand.

    • Requests for greater support to ex-service people.

    • Suggestions to keep New Zealand out of AUKUS and also keep nuclear free.

    • Suggestions for strategic alliances and partnerships.

    • Concerns about the scope and efficacy of the Defence Policy Review.

    • Messages of thanks to the Defence Force for all the work that they do.

A copy of submissions is available here [PDF, 11 MB].

Note: Certain information has been withheld, as indicated in the submission  document.

Industry research

Defence industry play an important role in supporting our Defence Force through the provision of key supplies and services, as well as capability. Research with defence industry on the partnership and how it could be improved has been undertaken to inform the Defence Policy Review.

During that process, the challenges facing industry as well as those from working with Defence were identified. Key feedback was around the need to provide clarity on Defence’s long-term needs and better engagement.

You can read a summary of the findings here [PDF, 4.8 MB].