WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand’s military will receive about NZ$5.3 billion (U.S. $3.3 billion) under the country’s 2023/2024 defense budget, unveiled May 18.
Last year, the New Zealand Defence Force received about NZ$4.9 billion. Inflation to December 2022 was just over 7%, according to Statistics NZ.
New Zealand’s Army has the largest share of funding among the armed services, receiving NZ$1.1 billion. The Army received about NZ$1.1 billion last year.
The government is allocating about NZ$1 billion — compared to NZ$941 million last year — to the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
The Royal New Zealand Navy is set to get about NZ$714 million — an increase from last year’s NZ$667 million.
An additional NZ$574 million will go toward protecting New Zealand’s territorial sovereignty and contribute to regional and global security efforts. And more than NZ$30 million is meant to assist with “the employment of New Zealand’s Armed Forces overseas, and to enable the provision of military capabilities overseas.”
The Government Communications Security Bureau, which specializes in gathering intelligence from electronic communications, is to receive almost NZ$402 million — a 25% increase from last year.
The Defence Ministry is set to get about NZ$1.3 billion for the “procurement of major military capabilities.” This includes NZ$605 million for five new C-130J-30 Hercules airlifters to replace the existing C-130H fleet, which has been in service with the Air Force since 1965, and almost NZ$14 million for P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. The third P-8A of four ordered is to arrive in New Zealand on May 19.
The budget also includes more pay for military personnel, with increases ranging from NZ$4,000 to NZ$15,000, beginning July 1 and costing NZ$419 million over four years. Defence Minister Andrew Little said the increase has led to the withdrawal of some resignation letters.
The budget for resource and border protection operations increases from NZ$610 million to NZ$634 million.
A domestic effort that partly supports public awareness of the proficiency and practice of the military will receive a modest increase from NZ$62.1 to NZ$64.2.
Budget documents noted that the funding increase this year follows obsolescence-driven serviceability issues that caused the unavailability of SH-2G(I) Seasprite helicopters, thus reducing naval aviation readiness, and the inability to service Boeing 757 engines, leading to a reduction in strategic air mobility readiness.
Nick Lee-Frampton is the New Zealand correspondent for Defense News.