Opportunities for industry

Defence takes a 'total cost of ownership' view when delivering and maintaining Defence capability. In order to maximise value for money for the New Zealand economy, it draws on a complementary mix of international and local suppliers. To achieve critical objectives, Defence depends on its commercial and industrial partners. Defence believes that by engaging well with business, value is created that would not otherwise exist.

Defence is a complex organisation. It has many Services, branches and Commands that have equipment, goods and services provided by industry. Sometimes you may hear Defence talking about “major” and “minor” capability delivery. Generally speaking, major capital items costing over $15 million (majors) are purchased by the Ministry of Defence. All other capital and operating purchases, other equipment, goods and services (minors) are managed by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF). Read an overview of who is responsible for what [PDF, 193 KB].

Ministry of Defence engagement

The Ministry offers opportunities for Prime Contractors to deliver large and complex capability projects. Those Prime Contractors then find Subcontractors to work with to support the capability being delivered. The Ministry contracts directly with Prime Contractors and in general, does not tend to contract directly with Subcontractors except in circumstances where Government Furnished Equipment is needed.

Since Defence focuses on value for money over the whole life of an asset, rather than up-front capital costs, there are many opportunities for New Zealand industry early in the procurement process. Support for the capability is almost always New Zealand-based, and New Zealand industry is an important partner of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) to deliver equipment and integrated logistic support.

The Ministry holds Project Industry Days. These are advertised on the Government Electronic Tenders Service (GETS)(external link) and are the best way for New Zealand businesses to find partnership opportunities with potential and current Prime Contractors. GETS also includes notifications of project timing and intentions to initiate projects, Industry Day presentation slides, Prime and Subcontractor contact information and ways to engage with the Ministry on opportunities for your business.

The Ministry follows the Government Rules of Sourcing(external link) and Treasury Better Business Case processes(external link) to purchase capability. For an explanation of the process, opportunities to engage and the tools we use see the Defence procurement process.


New Zealand Defence Force engagement

The NZDF acknowledges that industry has a key role in maintaining a modern, credible, and capable Defence Force. Typically, the NZDF will engage with industry (in whole or in part) for:

  • Design and development (including research and development commensurate with the level of risk)
  • Early engagement for new capabilities through the Ministry's Capability Delivery Division and as part of the Defence Industry Engagement team
  • Procurement under $15 million in addition to procurement and sourcing of capability, goods and services
  • Storage, transportation and distribution (goods and people)
  • Maintenance, repair and overhaul
  • Disposal of material
  • Construction, maintenance, operation and other uses of facilities and infrastructure
  • Medical, health and dental support
  • Security of information, assets and personnel
  • Dialogue to address technical expertise and operational/project delivery capacity.

Defence Industry Security guide

Companies or organisations entering into a contractual relationship with Defence that requires access to sensitive information are required to meet the guidelines set out in the Defence Industry Security guide.

For Prime Contractors

  • Visit GETS(external link) for Current Requests for Information and Tender.
  • See the Defence capability projects for opportunities for Prime Contractors.
  • Timings and intentions for opportunities can be found in the Defence Capability Plan.

The NZDF may have Prime or Lead Contractors on larger projects. They may come from a traditional military focused background or more likely, as technology advances and business models change, from a range of other industries.

For Subcontractors

There is significant opportunity to work directly with the NZDF or through one of our Prime Contractors. We encourage international suppliers and manufacturers to partner with domestic industries. Companies can engage at trade events, through industry groups and social media channels.

Who do I need to talk to?

The Defence Industry Engagement team works together to make sure you engage with the right people within Defence. Contact the Defence Industry Engagement team:

Ministry of Defence

Contact the Ministry of Defence team about any aspect of the Defence industry, and in particular about:

  • Long-term plans.
  • Acquisition of larger capabilities.

Huntley Wright, Assistant Secretary Capability Delivery: 

Telephone: +64 4 496 0614

Email: industry@defence.govt.nz

New Zealand Defence Force

Contact the NZDF team about any aspect of the Defence industry, and in particular about:

  • Commodities, fast moving consumer goods and durables
  • Logistics services and supplies
  • Information and communication technologies
  • Health and health services
  • Business consultancy services
  • Commercial services
  • Defence property

Debbie Howarth, Director, Defence Industry Engagement

Debbie Howarth, Director, Defence Industry Engagement:

Mobile: +64 21 916 382

Email: industry@nzdf.mil.nz

NZDF website: www.nzdf.mil.nz(external link)


To find out what’s going on in Defence see:


Updated: February 2024