The New Zealand Government will invest $100.9m of operating funding in the 2014 to 2015 fiscal year to help strengthen the operational capabilities of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).
New Zealand Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman said the investment represents the first stage of an allocation of $535.5m.
"This significant investment in our defence force, combined with the savings and reinvestment achieved through recent reforms, means the government is addressing the long term funding gap which we inherited," Coleman said.
"It is vital that the NZDF can continue to meet the government’s requirements, whether it is carrying out humanitarian assistance and disaster relief work at home or in the Pacific, or contributing to wider global security efforts."
The 2014 budget confirms the NZDF’s funding approach agreed by the Cabinet following the defence mid-point rebalancing review in November 2013.
The additional funding is expected to enable the NZDF to maintain and enhance its current mix of capabilities, as well as maintain and grow personnel numbers over time, while allowing the government to continue its modernisation and upgrade programme.
NZDF has operated within fixed baselines since 2010, reflecting the tough budgetary environment, and also delivered significant reform with a focus on providing back-office efficiencies.
Coleman added: "The NZDF has made significant progress on its savings and redistribution programme since 2010, and $204m has been reprioritised."
Having purchased new naval helicopters, army trucks and a pilot training package, the government will soon award contracts for a new training facility for the New Zealand Special Air Service (NZSAS) and a systems upgrade for the navy’s frigates, according to the defence minister.
In addition, a decision is also likely to be taken on a replacement for the navy’s tanker Endeavour.
Further details are scheduled to be revealed on 15 May, when the budget will be officially released, Defense News reported.
Image: New Zealand Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman presented the country’s 2014 defence budget. Photo: Dod photo courtesy of Erin Kirk-Cuomo. (Released).