Broad requirements

What do we want our Defence Force to be?


New Zealand taxpayers do not sacrifice the value they do, so some people can see the world and drink a lot while contributing only intangible values like military fellowship to their sponsors - to remove doubt this comment is aimed at the Royal New Zealand Navy.Similarly an Army that spends its time preparing for grand cavalry manouvres on the Australian continent is effectively a giant toy. It is like preparing for alien invasion - totally pointless.  Every element of the force must have a level of day-to-day usefulness in both war and peacetime, given that war is extremely unlikely.  


There is no point having expensive assets and resources if the time and cost to deploy them in an operational setting is so great that they can never be used. A good example is the NZ$700m NZLAV. Currently far too many expensive assets deployability depend on the availability of HMNZS Canterbury. This is nonsensical.


There is no point having or deploying assets which cannot be maintained, either because parts and support is declining through lack of commercial viability (e.g the Kaman Seasprites) or because expertise is not available because staff are reluctant to move (once again the Kaman Seasprites). The same also applies to the ability of the defence force to sustain its own staff. The force must be capable to maintaining expertise by offering competitive remuneration.


The Defence Force is not a welfare agency. It's operations should be as efficient as those of private sector operators where these are comparable. This means if Helicopters New Zealand (HNZ) can operate in New Zealand, Australia and South East Asia then the Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90s should achieve similar levels of efficiency. The main area where these are not comparable fall into the area of security effectiveness. Private operators do not deliberately go where people might shoot at them, but this is the only difference.


Being in the military is inherently unsafe. The whole point of the military is to be in harms way. That said the defence force has a moral duty to provide its staff with the best protection for their duties that is reasonable. This applies at a macro-level as well. The force must focus on protecting people rather than assets - no matter how expensive those assets may be. In other words an infantryman's armour is as important as a ship's missile defence system.