What is the Defence Policy Review?

A Defence Policy Review is being undertaken to ensure that New Zealand’s defence policy, strategy, and planned capability investments remain fit for purpose. It will provide a roadmap for the future.

Image of NZ Army personnel.

Our Defence Assessment 2021(external link), released in December 2021, describes a much more challenging strategic environment for New Zealand than in recent decades. It identified principal challenges coming from growing strategic competition and the increasing impacts of climate change. These, as well as the continuing impacts of COVID-19, intersect with and are amplified by a range of other sources of insecurity, including emerging technologies, violent extremism, and transnational organised crime.

That is why Aotearoa New Zealand is looking at a defence policy shift to ensure we have the right settings in which to respond to the challenges we face both now, and those of the future.

Procuring defence capabilities and training the personnel of our Defence Force takes time. We need to have the right force design and buy the right equipment to support the work we ask our Defence personnel to do both now and in the future.

The first two products of the Review have now been released:

This strategy will guide Defence’s planning, operations, engagements and investment to ensure that Defence is fit-for-purpose in an increasingly challenging and complex world.

This document identifies the requirements of the future Defence Force to respond to the strategic environment and approach set out in the Defence Policy and Strategy Statement 2023.

These documents will be used to inform future decisions, including the development of options for a new Defence Capability Plan, work that is currently underway.

Ministerial Advisory Panel

In October, Minister of Defence Peeni Henare announced the establishment of a Ministerial Advisory Panel to provide independent advice throughout the Defence Policy Review. Read about the Panel membership here


Why review defence policy?

Defence policy is one aspect of national security policy, alongside foreign policy and other overlapping and mutually supporting policy areas.

Learn more