The mission of the NZ Coastguard is to carry out law enforcement, civilian and environmental protection, support scientific research, disaster response and support of other agencies including the Army.
The NZ Coastguard operates the following departments for civilian services
The NZ Coastguard itself operates the following units
To a total of $560m per year. Each unit is a stand alone cost centre responsible for its own accounting using standardised systems.
This is the remote sensing and satellite department. It is envisaged that it will operate Low Earth Orbit satellites delivered by Rocket Labs from its launch facility in Canterbury. The satellites will provide:
1. Network connection for UAV operations from Tokelau to the Ross Sea
2. Radio signal monitoring over the target area
3. Synthetic Aperture Radars
It is envisaged eight satellites would be required.
Satellite time could also be sold to Chile, Argentina, and South Africa
The department may also operate two or three Unpiloted Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) also known as drones for meteorological and SAR operations.
Rather than own and operate all aircraft the Coastguard would hire air transport services. This would include both long distance and rotary aircraft. For long distance one option would be a lease back arrangement with Air New Zealand for Airbus A320s. The Coastguard would buy the A320s but dry lease them to Air New Zealand with the provision that it can wet lease the aircraft back at short notice. A dry lease means the aircraft is provided to the airline for painting in its colours, is crewed and operated by the airline, a wet lease means the airline assigns an aircraft from its fleet complete with crew etc. This means that when the aircraft is not being used by the Coastguard it is being worked as a commercial aircraft for a return. When the aircraft is needed the Coastguard effectively only pays for the crew, fuel and landing charges. Other options would be wet leasing aircraft for moving heavy equipment as was done with the LAV III.
Helicopter contracts would be closer to those currently managed by the Royal New Zealand Coastguard. Air Transport operations may or may not provide paratroop training platforms for other services.
No 45 Squadron is formed through the union of today's no.5 and no 40 Squadrons. This merges the functions and capabilities of the patrol and surveillance aircraft while halving the operational cost. The squadron's main ability is accurately paradropping things. Where the current P3K Orion squadron can only drop radios to wrecked mariners the 45 Squadron aircraft would be expected to drop larger survival kits. The squadron can also land aid on very remote islands and conduct) sea searches using radar and forward looking infrared (thermal imaging) systems by day and night. While it is assumed monitoring very large search areas is best left to satellites and UAVs actually intervening requires the skills of this squadron.
Patrol Ship Squadron
The Patrol ship squadron is the offshore patrol vessel squadron of four OPVs. Two are the Project Protector OPVs HMNZS Wellington and Otago. Wellington and Otago focus on the northern, warmer oceans and two focus on the southern colder oceans. These are built on alternative capital cycles.
Patrol Boat Squadron
The patrol boat squadron is the inshore patrol squadron of eight IPVs. Four are the Project Protector IPVs, the other four are a New Zealand trimaran design making use of local designers, materials expertise and engine technology.
Naval Logistics Fleet
This includes the HMNZS Canterbury and two new fleet and logistics support vessels (one replacing HMNZS Endaevour).
Royal NZ Coastguard/Inshore SAR
Rather than recreate the existing coastguard the proposal is to fund it from the remains of vote defence rather than the lotteries grants and other sources it uses today. This will free up $7m a year for other community projects and will provide a $3m a year boost to the existing coastguard. The current management and governance structures would remain the same.