WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND — New Zealand’s spending on defense is little changed from the NZ $2.9 billion (then US $2.2 billion) for 2012-2013 to NZ $2.87 billion for 2013-2014.
The details, announced in the May 16 budget, include a marked reduction in spending on the Royal New Zealand Navy, a decrease in the Army’s budget and a modest increase for the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
Funding for the Navy drops from NZ $662 million to just under NZ $600 million.
Spending on the Army falls from NZ $845 million to NZ $810 million while the Air Force enjoys a surge from NZ $790 million to just over NZ $803 million.
However, there are rises and falls within all three services. For example, the Navy’s budget for the patrol force (including two offshore and four inshore patrol vessels) rises from NZ$126 million to NZ $131 million. The joint funding for the fleet tanker and the amphibious support ship Canterbury is raised from NZ $100 million to NZ $110 million.
At the same time, the littoral warfare support budget, which includes mine countermeasures, is reduced and the fiscal support for the Navy’s two Anzac-class frigates drops from NZ $338 million to NZ $325 million.
Reflecting New Zealand’s withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan, the allocation for operationally deployed forces tumbles from NZ $65 million to just NZ $27.6 million.
The allowance for land combat support forces (which includes artillery, engineers and communications) is slightly reduced, whereas funding for Special Operations Forces is boosted from NZ $80 million to NZ $87 million.
The Air Force’s helicopters, the NH90s and A109s of 3 Squadron, enjoy an increase from NZ $221 million to NZ $246 million, while the naval helicopter force of Kaman Seasprites also shows a slight increase, from NZ $86 million to NZ $91 million.
The Air Force’s RNZAF’s fleet of six P-3K2 Orions, officially titled the Airborne Surveillance and Response Force, enjoys a marked increase in funds from NZ $182 million to almost NZ $203 million.
The Ministry of Defence is allocated more funds, too, rising from NZ $164 million to NZ $241 million.