WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, New Zealand Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman outlined his country’s military plans and what he sees as the primary challenges facing the region.
“We are configuring our defense force so that it’s fit to meet the demands of the 21st century,” Coleman said June 2.
“Surveillance, logistics and the ability to sustain forces at a distance and over time are key drivers of our current and future defense investments.”
New Zealand, he said, seeks to tackle the emerging threats of cyber, piracy and illegal migration through greater cooperation.
“As we develop technologically, so too do we become more vulnerable to cyber attacks,” Coleman said. “This borderless threat is more than just a new element of modern warfare, it is becoming increasingly advanced and represents a significant threat to national interests.
“We developed a National Cyber Strategy in 2011, and opened a National Cyber Office this year which will lead our international engagement on cybersecurity,” he added.
Regarding the shift in the global distribution of economic power to Asia, Coleman said, “That shift is not temporary, it’s not superficial, it’s structural. For many Asian nations, economic growth has enabled substantial military modernization. But the prosperity underpinning this expenditure is also a strong incentive for peace and stability.”
Coleman reminded the audience that New Zealand has participated positively in the global campaign against terrorism alongside its partners.
“Our provincial reconstruction team in Bamyan, now in its 20th rotation, was the third established in Afghanistan and our Special Forces have played a major role in mentoring and supporting Afghan forces,” he said. “Later this month, the New Zealand Defence Force will be in Papua New Guinea, alongside our close partner, Australia, providing helicopters and vital logistics support for the general elections.”