The defense of New Zealand comprises 8,700 men with 10,800 men in reserve and is organized in an army of 4,430 men, 8,800 men fully staffed. The Navy has 1,980 men, 4,900 men fully manned, with six fighters, of which two are frigates, and the Air Force has 2,250 men, 4,400 men fully manned, with six fighter aircraft. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that ZK stands for New Zealand.
Within the framework of the ANZUS Pact (1951, renewed in 1996), defense preparations are conducted in close cooperation with the United States and Australia. Together with the United Kingdom and Australia, New Zealand has committed to supporting the defense of Malaysia and Singapore. New Zealand has a flight detachment based in Australia and a collaborative force in Singapore.
Defense costs have decreased from 2.9 to 1.0% of GDP in 1985-2005. New Zealand participates in a number of UN peacekeeping operations, in Afghanistan (ISAF and UN), Bosnia and Herzegovina, East Timor, Egypt, Iraq, the Gulf of Oman (some warships), the Middle East (UNTSO) and Serbia and Montenegro.
New Zealand is a member of the ANZUS defense pact. The military service is voluntary. The total force numbers for New Zealand’s armed forces are 9000 active personnel, with a reserve of 2,300 personnel (2018, IISS).
The army is 4500 active personnel. Materials include 93 storm tanks and light artillery.
The Air Force has a personnel force of 2450 active personnel. Materials include six Orion anti-submarines, 11 transport aircraft, 11 training aircraft, and 21 helicopters.
The Navy has a workforce of 2050 active personnel. The fleet includes two frigates (of the Anzac class, 3500 tonnes), one amphibious warship and auxiliary vessels (of the Canterbury class, 9000 tonnes), six patrol vessels and two landings.
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In 2018, New Zealand participated in Operation Inherent Resolve with 143 personnel, and in the NATO operation in Afghanistan (Resolute Support Mission) with 13 personnel. The country also participated in UN operations in the Middle East (UNTSO) with seven observers, and in South Sudan (UNMISS) with two personnel and three observers.
New Zealand’s foreign policy
The Nationalist Party has worked for close relations with the United States and Australia, while Labor has increasingly emphasized more independent attitudes in relation to the two countries. New Zealand joined the ANZUS pact in 1951 and received military assistance from the United States after the British approx. 1970 withdrew “east of Suez”. As symbolic support for the United States, New Zealand had a battalion in Vietnam. Resistance to nuclear weapons has been a key principle in foreign policy.
In 1984, New Zealand and the other Pacific Island Forum member states declared the South Pacific as a nuclear-free zone. Prime Minister David Lange refused naval vessels with nuclear weapons to enter the country’s ports; a law on this was supported by all parties in 1987. The United States then suspended its defense obligations to New Zealand; in 1997 the dispute was not resolved.
New Zealand’s relationship with France was tense after French agents in 1985 dropped a ship from the Greenpeace organization at the port of Auckland. New Zealand reacted particularly strongly to French nuclear tests in 1995-96, and sued France before the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
When the Nationalist Party returned to power in 1990, security policy cooperation with the United States was gradually resumed, New Zealand joined the United States-led UN coalition during the Gulf War 1990-91, and sent troops to Afghanistan in 2002. At the turn of the millennium, major cuts were made in defense, this caused irritation in Australia and the United States.
Prime Minister Helen Clark argued that, with its remote location, New Zealand did not face any tangible security policy threat, and could not afford such a comprehensive defense as before. Spirits reappeared when Clark withdrew from the Iraq war in 2003. New Zealand nonetheless sent a division of engineer soldiers to the reconstruction work in southern Iraq. The country has also contributed soldiers to peacekeeping operations in East Timor and the Solomon Islands.
As a general rule, New Zealand has always worked closely with Australia. An agreement with Australia on the gradual introduction of free trade between the two countries came into full force in 1995. New Zealand also attaches great importance to cooperation within the Pacific Islands Pacific Islands Forum and the Pacific Community Pacific Community.