Technically the small size of New Zealand's military means that it is not of much practical support to our allies at all. There is nothing our military can do that the US, Australia or any other friendly power cannot do for itself. However as New Zealand is dependent on the good will of its allies for its security it obviously behoves New Zealand to provide friendly moral support to these allies when needed. The assumption is that this will translate into practical action should we need their support at some other date.
Diplomatically the difficulty is at times New Zealand's international position does not agree with those of our allies.
The operational question here is what facilities can New Zealand supply which are:
1) marginally useful to allies such that the cost of coordinating with a separate force is worth the benefit that force brings to the table, and
2) is something which New Zealand can provide to allies for its own benefit.
An example of a successful provision of a New Zealand force which meets these criteria is NZSAS. For a relatively modest cost New Zealand special forces can make a significant contribution to allied operations by being well trained and equipped. This capability is also a necessary backstop in case terrorist incidents in New Zealand are beyond the competence of Police.
A less successful example is the Royal New Zealand Navy frigates. These can provide a contribution to allies but come at a considerable cost to New Zealand both in financial terms and in terms of opportunity cost because frigates are not well suited to EEZ management operations.
This raises the question, "what 'defence' facilities does New Zealand have, which it can make available at low cost to itself, and low integration cost, to allies, given that it does not have a high military need?"
On the one hand New Zealand needs to support its allies, on the other hand it shouldn't subsidise them.
Role of Military >