Funding priorities

Written By: - Date published: 1:10 pm, June 8th, 2016 - 68 comments
Categories: accountability, class war, national, uncategorized, war - Tags: , , , ,

What are we so afraid of?

More ships and spooks – Govt to pump $20b into Defence Force

More ships, surveillance planes and spies will make up a $20 billion investment in the Defence Force over the next 15 years.

Meanwhile the budget resulted in effective cuts to health and education:

Dr Deborah Russell: Budget 2016 – How do we look after all New Zealanders?

Very quietly, a cut here and a decrease there, a failure to keep up with inflation in one place, and ignoring increasing population in another place, the Government is walking away from New Zealand’s longstanding social compact.

In his Budget speech, Bill English proudly says that government expenditure is down to less than 30 per cent of GDP, and that’s the way that it’s going to stay.

But how is this retreat from the economy achieved?

It happens by spending less on health and less on education, and not spending enough on housing for the least well off New Zealanders.

Health spending is going from $15.2 billion to $15.6 billion. That’s an increase of 2.6 per cent. But inflation is predicted to run at 2 per cent, and population growth is running at around 2 per cent. In real terms, the health spend per capita is going down.

It’s the same story in education. Operating expenditure is going from $13.9 billion to $14.2 billion, a 2.2 per cent increase. That’s not enough to keep up with the growth in school rolls. …

We are under funding mental health:

Mental health service in crisis – still

This week we are once more reminded that the mental health system is in crisis, with the update by Kirsty Johnson in the Herald on autistic man, Ashley Peacock, who has been locked in an isolated mental health unit for five years; a place so isolated his long-suffering parents have never been inside.

The Government has just revealed it’ll slash government funds for the country’s budgeting service by $3 million (despite denying it two weeks ago). Relationships Aotearoa has been scrapped. Fourteen other social service providers have also lost their funding in the last round, the cuts hitting regional services particularly hard. These services may be small but they all work to keep families and lives together. They are all part of the mental health picture. …

We’re under funding DOC:

Alarming new footage of forest collapse

Forest & Bird has released two dramatic videos showing how Northland’s forests, which are undergoing a masting event this year, are collapsing due to chronic underfunding of the Department of Conservation and lack of pest control. …

We’re under funding the police:

High road toll blamed on bad decisions

Government ministers are rejecting claims that police under-funding has lead to the worst Queen’s Birthday road toll in 27 years.

Police have described the long weekend’s road toll – the worst Queen’s Birthday period since 1989 – as horrific. Eleven people died; last year, the toll was five. Police Minister Judith Collins said the Labour Party was wrong to blame the high toll on under-funding and fewer police officers on the road. …

And so on and so on, in this the Eighth Year of the Brighter Future.

Why are we spending so much money on “defence” when there are so many real and urgent needs? It is hard to imagine that our “enemies” could possibly do us more damage than we are inflicting on ourselves.

68 comments on “Funding priorities”

  1. shorts 1

    defence is good PR, appeals to the conservative fearful mindset of I would guess a key part of nationals core… also a area national is often a big talker in but miser compared to labour govt

    in short macho get tough bullshit (No right turn has a good take on it for the browsers)

  2. lprent 2

    Why are we spending so much money on “defence” when there are so many real and urgent needs? It is hard to imagine that our “enemies” could possibly do us more damage than we are inflicting on ourselves.

    The problem that you have is that to have a military is to have to maintain it. If you don’t, it gets rundown, ineffective, and essentially useless. Which is where much of the equipment for the armed forces is heading now. Those Orions for instance were from when – the 1970s?

    You want it to be operational and effective the first time that you need it for anything. Having it operational the second time will usually mean that you have condemned millions of people to misery, death and hardship when you do need it.

    These can be from natural disasters (think of what happened in Christchurch in the aftermath of what is in geological terms, a pretty minor earthquake in 2010), through to policing our economic zones (unless you really want the fisheries in Antarctica to be pillaged), through to outright military defence or peacekeeping.

    In NZ we have a diverse range of needs for the military. There are few of those things that could be done by anyone else apart from a standing force designed to respond to emergencies. They are New Zealand’s insurance policy. In our case they are a small force designed for immediate response and to furnish a trained cadre if they ever need to be expended.

    Personally I think that they are worth every penny. Raise taxes rather than cutting their effectiveness.

    BTW: I’m both a ex-territorial soldier and a history buff. The number of times in history you see the same cry going up to cut even a small military and then the exact reverse from those same short-sighted critics less than a decade later is pretty instructive. It takes time to build any effective force.

    Doesn’t matter if it is a bureaucracy like the Christchurch Recovery Authority (who demonstrate that issue pretty well – they appear to still be useless 7 years later) or a military standing force. You have to have the kernel in place before you actually need it. And you have to pay for it based on the levels of risk. In NZ with a low current probability of a need for a defensive force, a very high probability of natural disasters, and an enormous economic zone that we need to police – we have (like the police) probably a smaller kernel than we should have.

    • shorts 2.1

      the forces are only of value if they have the right equipment and training for the roles needed for not the role they desire to fill – NRT suggests the want list is not fit for purpose

      • lprent 2.1.1

        That is a slightly different question to the one that r0b was arguing. However…

        Basically NRT doesn’t know what he is talking about.

        The maritime aircraft and ships are dual purpose. Sure they can search for subs. That is the whole point. If anyone wanted to reasonably cheaply interdict our seaways for our commercial traffic, guess what they’d use? If you look at the states with military north of NZ, submarines abound. And of course there are many states who have long range subs.

        Does NRT want to wait until a sub appears before he starts to organise defence of our trade routes?

        Similarly with the planes. Sure they are big transport planes and they bring a choice of flying smallish loads a long way, or large loads a shorter way. I guess that is why he only chose to look at one of those options. The airfield argument is (to put it mildly) spurious. Large civilian aircraft also require even longer runways, and they are everywhere these days. Quite unlike the 1960s when we got the Hercules.

        Frankly reading NRT’s peice, I’d have to say that he appears to stuck in the 1970s or 1980s. He is certainly looking at mach after that.

        • Dennis Merwood 2.1.1.1

          So lp, which “states”(?) have “long range” (as opposed to “short range”) subs that are threatening to interdict New Zealand waterways commercial traffic?

          ……”Does NRT want to wait until a sub appears before he starts to organise defence of our trade routes?” You are under a huge allusion if you think any modern submarine is going to be hindered by some 50-year old cold war relic Orion submarine hunting aeroplanes flying overhead.

          And your penultimate paragraph says what? A jumble of vague statements at best. Try again.

          …..”He is certainly looking at mach after that”. You mean the speed of sound?

          • Crashcart 2.1.1.1.1

            Malaysia have sub’s and a considerable navy to back it up. Are they currently threat to us? no. Are they a nation that could conceivably be one day? yes. Subs can easily travel from as far as India, China and the US and to be honest with the right support from any where in the world.

            Sub hunting is of course just one of the rolls that ANZAC frigates are capable of and is in fact a smaller part. The capabilities that are being sought are in large parts upgrades to existing ones. We currently run a tanker that was due for replacement 10 years ago. We have a Dive tender that is just as out of date. The ANZAC Frigates are going through half life refits over the next couple of years and have already been extended in projected life.

            This is all just for information. I will not offer an opinion to the assigning of this money as I hold an obvious bias.

            • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.1.1

              What I want to see are Defence purchases which reflect the needs of this country and reflects the role we want to play in the wider pacific. All this talk about sub hunting is bullshit. How many sub hunting craft are you going to need to properly hunt one quiet modern non-surfacing diesel sub in a 1000km by 1000km patch of sea?

              I’m guessing a few dozen.

              The Swedes piled almost their entire navy into looking for a supposed Russian submarine 2 years ago. Nada.

              And when was the last time a merchant shipping vessel was even sunk by a submarine? The 70’s???

              At least they are giving our soldiers decent assault rifles now, instead of Steyrs completely outmatched by 1950s AKMs.

              • Crashcart

                I’m not sure how familiar you are with the capabilities of our defence force but I would argue the people of Christchurch and the pacific who have been through horrible disasters in recent years would say that the NZ Army, Navy, and Air Force have all contributed a massive amount to help after. Recent purchases and a number of those identified in the white paper are geared towards HADAR (Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief). That would seem to reflect the roll we play in the wider pacific.

                The sub hunting thing is a side show. It is a capability that comes with what is being considered. A tag on as such. If you are worried that the Orion’s are being replaced simply so they can now hunt sub’s then rest easy. They are to be replaced because they are out dated and need to be replaced. The replacement will still carry out all the Search and Rescue duties that the Orions do, oh and they will have a lightly improved ability to assist in sub detection.

                Stop acting like the sub hunting is what they are spending 20B on.

    • Ad 2.2

      I only partially agree with your sentiments.
      We’ve had 50 years of very little military use for a fighting military.
      Half a century.
      Well worth raising the question of whether we can get better bang per buck for my taxpayer dollar.

      If we really needed some Captain America scale disaster relief team, then NZDF should say that clearly in the White Paper, and generate a platoon for it.

      I would trust the Ministry of Defence with my money a little better if they really did get hard scrutiny from Treasury. Instead:
      – Over 100 Light Armoured Vehicles ordered just aren’t needed, and never were.
      – Many of the patrol vessels simply aren’t getting used
      and on the other hand…
      – the Hercules get yet another fix-up job rather than biting the bullet and getting a decent new fleet.

      ie hundreds and hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars wasted. Which could have gone elsewhere, or been saved.

      • Crashcart 2.2.1

        To clarify when the patrol vessels were ordered they would most assuredly have al been used and extensively. The reason some are tied up is not due to a lack of demand for them but instead due to a lack of personnel to man them. You can look to the government and their civilianisation process for the cause of that.

        • Colonial Viper 2.2.1.1

          It’s a fuck up of one hand not talking to the other. The upshot is a massive waste of tax payers money, probably enough to run all of NZ’s womens refuges for a century. And don’t even bring up the Charles Upham.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.3

      Those Orions for instance were from when – the 1970s?

      1960s They should have been replaced by the last Labour government but they took the cheap extend option.

      • lprent 2.3.1

        Opps – meant to be a reply to Ad at 2.2

        If we required a disaster program for reasonable earthquake in Wellington or a one of those millennial eruptions out of Taupo or a myriad of other possible natural disasters, then our combined military , police, fire, civil defense and medical resources are way too small (roughly ~20k people). But they are orders of magnitude better than not having them.

        Anyone who has ever looked at large disaster relief questions knows that getting an already organised disciplined external force into a devastated region in the first few days exponentially saves lives and the society that sustains them. Have a look at the Haitian model for dealing with their last major earthquake for the alternative. Then look at what happens in states with disiplined forces to move in

        Remember that my first degree was in earth sciences and I’ve had a bit of focus on disaster relief throughout my adult life. It is one of the reasons I live in Auckland. Despite its numerous little basalt cones, it is one of the safer parts of the country.

    • Iprent, your thoughts on this matter would all make sense if New Zealand was not pissing away money sending its Army to train the Iraqi Army. Total insanity. We yanks have spent literally billion training this useless Army. The corrupt bastards don’t show up for work and sell the weapons provided by the American tax payer on the black market to the enemy. And flee leaving all this stuff to their enemy when slightest shooting battle starts. The piddling Kiwi efforts are just….well, you know…wanting to be part of the club. A total waste of Kiwi tax payer money.
      And prey tell, what does little ole New Zealand need with Orion submarine patrol planes? How old are they now? And what have they ever done, except burnt up tons of fossil fuel? How many nuclear submarines have they “intercepted”? Another total waste of money.
      Come on Kiwi’s, don’t get sucked into this American Paradyne. Spend your money on real things that benefit your people.

      • lprent 2.4.1

        Perhaps you should look up the NZ military before making your ignorance too obvious. Here is the baby explanation.

        To be effective the military has to exercise training opportunities and exercises offshore. That is how you learn and don’t get locked into uselessness. That is particularly the case when we have such a small military (11,440 (as of June 2016), and reserves of 2,321 (as of June 2016)) according to wikipedia.

        Of those, we usually have less than 200 deployed offshore on military missions (currently less than 100 in Iraq – which I agree is a waste of time), and about another 200 in other overseas positions (embassies, liaisons, training etc).

        I sincerely hope you have the maths capability to work percentages as I don’t wish to embarrass you (… too much 😈 )

        • Dennis Merwood 2.4.1.1

          You really are a piece of work! LOL
          More ad hominem attacks.
          Percentages of what?
          So the NZ Military is small. OK. That’s appropriate.
          New Zealand is a small peaceful nation.
          What “percentages” should I have the math capability to work?
          Help me. I’m just a lowly US Transient.

          • lprent 2.4.1.1.1

            Nope, that is just my response to idiots waving their stupid ignorant dicks around…

            FFS: GO AND READ SOME INFO BEFORE MAKING YOURSELF LOOK LIKE AN IDIOT.

    • Jamie 2.5

      As an ex-soldier you may be interested in this….

      “Short of paying for a modern military, including fighter jets and a proper navy, one very inexpensive national defence option would be for New Zealand to import a lesson from Switzerland. Any potential invader of that small European nation would face the prospect of taking accurate, aimed fire from tens of thousands of military assault rifles kept at home in the hands of civilian lifetime reservists.”

      https://westernrifleshooters.wordpress.com/2015/03/15/bracken-switzerland-america-and-new-zealand-the-kiwi-is-low-hanging-fruit/

      The Swiss Armed Forces operate under the country’s militia system, professional soldiers constitute about 5 percent of the military and the rest are conscripts or volunteers aged 19 to 34 (in some cases up to 50). Because of Switzerland’s long history of neutrality, the army does not take part in armed conflicts in other countries, but it does participate in international peacekeeping missions.

      It offers a defence policy that would be able to actually defend New Zealand in the case of war, it would deter any would be threats, and would give New Zealand a chance of forging an independent foreign policy, un-reliant and un-beholden to the US defence umbrella.

      The only thing I would add to it would be train the NZ Army to build infrastructure like the ancient Roman legions….

      https://r1016132.wordpress.com/2015/03/13/train-the-army-to-build-northlands-infrastructure/

      Then that way you got the skilled labour ready to help rebuild in the event of a major disaster i.e Christchurch. As an added bonus when the soldiers get out they would have a trade under their belt – them grunts getting out now still only know how to pull a trigger and hump a pack

      • lprent 2.5.1

        If you want to get a shock some time, just have a look at the number of registered owners and the lack of information on their weapons in NZ and our consumption of bullets.

        The Swiss maintain a professional army of a similar size to NZ. See the wikipedia page.

        Under the country’s militia system, professional soldiers constitute about 5 percent[citation needed] of the military and the rest are conscripts or volunteers aged 19 to 34 (in some cases up to 50).

        As their current force size is about 147k, that is somewhere about 7,500 in the regulars who act as the main force and training cadre.

        Bearing in mind that they are literally surrounded by about 8 (?) states who over the last thousand years were more notable for their lack of peace than their peacefulness….

      • Draco T Bastard 2.5.2

        As an added bonus when the soldiers get out they would have a trade under their belt – them grunts getting out now still only know how to pull a trigger and hump a pack

        You need to check out what a modern armed forces needs sometime. Believe me, it’s not grunts.

  3. Enough is Enough 3

    Ron Mark from NZ First was interviewed by Willy and Ali on Radio Live a little before 12.30.

    Ron Mark doesn’t think 20B is enough and stated that NZ First’s policy will be for more spending than that.

    • Puckish Rogue 3.1

      1.1% of GDP is at the low end especially when you compare it to our allies efforts

      • shorts 3.1.1

        lets not compare our spend to that of our allies… and by that I guess you mean the US in particular

        and lets not even try to keep up with them – better a force that is functional than one with shiny toys we can’t afford to service let alone run

        • maninthemiddle 3.1.1.1

          Your last point is well made, however we do have responsibilities to our allies to maintain a fighting force that is capable of more than just catching illegal fishing boats. If and when conflict erupts, it is shameful to think we would be clinging to the coattails of the US, Australia etc.

          • shorts 3.1.1.1.1

            If and when conflict erupts I’d prefer we didn’t cling to their coat tails either, especially given one of our mates warlike tendencies… realistically however given our size and budget clinging to others is our reality, so lets spend our money wisely so what we do have is effective and maintainable

            • maninthemiddle 3.1.1.1.1.1

              I was referring to a dependency without paying our way. I want to be part of a strategic alliance such that when we DO need to respond we can hold our heads high and say we did our part.

              • Stuart Munro

                A lot of the problem is gentrification in armed forces. Inglorious infantry remain the core of any sensible army and they don’t cost $20 billion.

                That said we should be making our own small arms and recon drones. Well within local industrial capacity & relates to independence.

                A handful of US fighter aircraft would eat all of that money – & we’ve no use for them.

                We still need a ship to carry and support a LAV infantry deployment – which would be useful for cyclone relief and the like. World shipbuilding is in recession – it’ll never be cheaper.

      • Ad 3.1.2

        Be good if we saw 1.1% of GDP benchmarked in New Zealand and in the OECD for: housing, or conservation. Or anything. It’s a throwaway line from a global pissing contest.

        NZDF have the crappest PR in the public service, given the tasks that they take on. They should get to work fronting for the right equipment and service mix, rather than let this dork of a Minister front for them.

        • lprent 3.1.2.1

          Agreed.

          BTW: Who is the current dork? I wasn’t that happy with Wayne when he was doing the job. But whoever has been there since has been making him look like a paragon of diligence. The only one I noticed since was Brownlee, and that was mainly because he was making such a complete screwup of the task.

          And despite my stirring tone, I actually mean that in a kindly manner for Wayne…

          Update: it appears that Brownlee is still on the task. That probably explains why the NZDF has such useless PR.

  4. Heather Grimwood 4

    Alas Anthony, in this era, we only make enemies by attacking others. A reasonable number of service people to do just that is enough…..serve in humanitarian way where needed be it home or away. There is absolutely no possibility of our being able to ‘defend’ our long coastline and anyway a world conflagration would be over in a trice. TPP is obviously in operation though supposedly not yet fact.
    I have worked against this rubbish thinking for decades. Oh well, dig out my antiwar badges once again! “When will they ever learn?”

  5. srylands 5

    By focusing on “spending” you are totally ignoring performance.

    In health and education, increased expenditure can be consumed by higher input costs with little or no increase in outcomes. That was certainly the story in schooling in New Zealand in the first decade of the 21st century.

    People don’t care about how much is spent. They care about results and services. Why do you think it is a good thing to increase expenditure?

    On health you can spend literally whatever you like. The good news is that service performance is increasing:

    http://www.health.govt.nz/new-zealand-health-system/health-targets/how-my-dhb-performing/how-my-dhb-performing-2015-16/health-targets-2015-16-quarter-3-results-summary

    As for your headline ‘Why are we spending so much money on “defence” ?’, well compared to what? We don’t spend much on defence at all. Capital equipment like planes is used up to and well beyond its design life. And there is not much of it.

    So by all means argue that the defence force should be abolished. But if we have one there is no point in it being totally useless.

    • Rosemary McDonald 5.1

      @srylands

      “The good news is that service performance is increasing”

      Have another look mate…(Yes, I understand that Misery of Health publications can be confusing. Some might say deliberately obfuscating. )

      Moving from “shit” to “not quite as shit” cannot be classified as “good news”.

      • Sabine 5.1.1

        well i guess under National it does.

        they could have moved ‘shit’ to ‘totally shitty now’, so moving ‘shit’ to ‘not quite as shite’ is an improvement.

        Someone should ask Paula Bennett about that. I am sure she could enlighten us to the different types of shit that are acceptable for the National Party, its supporters and its Members of Parliament.

    • Lloyd 5.2

      Spending money on education has a positive multiplier effect on our economy. The money is spent mainly on wages for people who buy things in New Zealand. Education, Health, Housing and Locking people up in prison all have a positive effect.
      Spending money on guns, boats, airplanes and tanks manufactured overseas has a negative multiplier effect on our economy. We send money overseas to buy those things. Toys for the boys are a much bigger drag on our economy than giving money to our homeless and economic destitute and giving free education at all levels.
      Once we understand those toys are a real loss then we really need to examine what our military does that protects us. Sure patrol aircraft are needed for our EEZ but do they need to be able to track submarines? Just tracking unlicensed foreign trawlers would appear to be what is required, but maybe a sub-chaser is the only thing that can do that job in the Ross Sea. What’s the cost of a second hand used Orion? There were dozens in storage at Davis-Monthan AFB in Arizona last time I Googled.
      It is fairly obvious that if we want to keep pretending the Ross Dependency is ours that we need a couple of ice-capable ships to chase those trawlers that the patrol planes track. NZ ship-building might be stretched by building these ships.
      The Hercules have done a great job over the years but they are getting long in the tooth. But again how many good second hand ones are out there? If wee have to re-manufacture bits in NZ that will probably be a positive economic multiplier.

  6. Richardrawshark 6

    In my opinion, our defence force should be strengthened in the area’s we specialize in, SAS work, Engineering, Freight and patrolling fishing vessels.

    If we concentrated what we are good at instead of attempting to have a military defence force we would be better off. I would imagine that sort of military makeup would rely on treaties if we were invaded on the off chance.

    This would I hope also increase the military capabilities as the money would go where it was needed more.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      In my opinion, our defence force should be strengthened in the area’s we specialize in, SAS work, Engineering, Freight and patrolling fishing vessels.

      Militaries can’t specialise. If they try to specialise then we end up with a weak and useless military.

      If we concentrated what we are good at instead of attempting to have a military defence force we would be better off.

      We’re a society and not an individual. That means that we’re as good at everything as everybody else.

      Basically, you’re talking out your arse.

      • lprent 6.1.1

        Indeed. They have to be pretty unspecialized overall. You get units to specialize in particular areas, and then you move their people around so others get at least familiar.

        Modern deployed military are there as insurance and as kernel for possible future expansion. That means that they train to get highly unspecialized.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    What are we so afraid of?

    Where’s the money going?
    Who’s going to be profiting from it?

    At that point you’ll know why the government is spending $20 billion on defence. Chances, it’ll be $20 billion spent in the US.

    I happen to think that we do need to improve our defence forces but we should be developing the necessary equipment ourselves. And have the government do it so that there’s no profit involved in it. People should not profit from creating weapons.

    That said, health and education should receive higher priority.

    Why are we spending so much money on “defence” when there are so many real and urgent needs?

    Why do we have so many urgent needs when we have the resources available to see to them?

    EDIT:
    Newshub

    Hah, we’re going to end up with one or more of the US littoral class ships.

    • lprent 7.1

      Those things are going to be useless except for that particular role. Can’t see them surviving the southern ocean..

  8. whispering kate 8

    Maybe they are preparing for the distant future when there may well be civilian disturbances and uprisings – because of the widening gap between the wealthy and the dirt poor. History tells us lots of stories and one, for sure, is that people will revolt if they are pushed far enough and are angry at the unfairness of it all. I have read that lots of countries are preparing in advance for their own people rising up against them – just my thoughts on the increase in military spending. Are not our military and police being taught in way off places here in NZ even now about how to control unruly and angry crowds?? You won’t hear about that in MSM. And, I don’t wear a tin foil hat.

    • I’m just shocked tonight to realize that all you Kiwi’s don’t know what you are being sucked into. It’s simple. The yanks want you to be an ally in their “pivot towards China”. They want to involve you guys in their imperialist designs on China. And, to spend a ton of dough on useless American military equipment to boot. The yanks are doing the same to the poor Aussies. Those fools are going to buy a ton of those useless F-35 joint strike fighter aircraft, and have been suckered into buying billons of dollars worth of submarines. These WMD are not needed to protect Australia, but intended to supplement an American attack on China. Total madness.
      Come on Kiwi’s. Wake up. You don’t want to be sucked into a useless shooting war with China just to be part of the club. Hunker down. Tell the yanks to take a hike. China is one of your biggest trading partners. You need to be building on these trade relationships, not taking sides with the American hegemons to attack China.
      Ok, upgrade your Hercules, a few more search and rescue helicopters, but no more sending troops to train the Iraqi’s, obediently licking imperialist US behinds, and buying their useless military-industrial complex junk. End of rant

      • lprent 8.1.1

        Boring….

        China is our second largest trading partner both ways, and Aussie is our first. The US is way down below the EU. Here is the child’s outline review which is probably suitable for a US transient.

        Everyone is pretty aware of what the US and Chinese intentions are. It isn’t like they try to hide it apart from the usual confused messages (ie from their internal political tousling – look at those idiots in your congress for how to get a non-functional government).

        Unlike all* US citizens kiwi’s don’t have our heads stuck up our self-referential iconoclastic arses. We are a trading nation who trade essentially without restrictions worldwide, and in an environment where knowledge is the key to access.

        About 30% of our total economy is based on exporting offshore. It gives us a incentive to understand the world that we make our money from that dwarfs the 13% that the US makes exporting. Unlike the US and EU countries we don’t have a large markets sitting right next door.

        Perhaps you should re-evaluate who is the ignorant one? You look to me like you are.

        * All as in *every* US citizen I have ever met compared to the general world knowledge of even average kiwis above the age of 30.

        • Dennis Merwood 8.1.1.1

          So what does all this diatribe have to do with anything I said about NZ military spending?

          …”.Unlike all* US citizens kiwi’s don’t have our heads stuck up our self-referential iconoclastic arses. We are a trading nation who trade essentially without restrictions worldwide, and in an environment where knowledge is the key to access.”….huh, want to try that again, without the ad hominem attacks.

          ….”* All as in *every* US citizen I have ever met compared to the general world knowledge of even average kiwis above the age of 30″……huh? That’s not even a sentence is it? Even for an ex-territorial soldier and a history buff.

          When you can come up with some actual facts, and sound reasoning, to argue your position. perhaps we can continue this debate.

          Signed, the US transient.

  9. Macro 9

    $1.2 billion a year extra but they can’t afford to bring 31 soldiers buried in unprotected graves home from Malaysia.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      That extra spending is going to the Military Industrial Surveillance Complex, so obviously that spending was approved. The other stuff with the soldiers’ bodies; not so much.

  10. Southern Man 10

    Commenters should not be too concerned at this announcement. The defence minister – Gerry ‘The Fat Fucker’ Brownlee is also the minister for Christchurch’s earthquake recovery (sic) and nothing will happen in the defence upgrade either. The man couldn’t find his arse with both hands and an arse map.

  11. Pat 11

    so government finally announces its climate change policy

  12. AmaKiwi 12

    Why are we spending more on defense?

    Because no government in history has survived once the police and the military turned against them.

    • Wayne 12.1

      I was on the Ministerial Advisory Panel for the current review.
      Basically the emphasis was for more capability for our ocean zone and the Antarctic. The great bulk of the $20 billion, to be spent over a 15 year period, is to replace existing equipment, essentially like for like.
      The Hercules and the Orions are now 50 years old, though they have been modernised. The management of the modernisation contracts, mostly under my watch proved to be a real headache, but they are now done, extending their life to the mid 2020’s.
      Both these capabilities are heavily used both for civil tasks and for defence tasks. As a nation we would look pretty foolish if we could not cover our own EEZ, the Ross Sea and the South Pacific.
      The Review has quite a nuanced approach to China. It is in no-ones interest, including the US, to have an antagonistic relationship with China. Every state in the region has stake to maintaining the stability that has resulted in the greatest improvement in the lives of hundreds of millions that humanity has ever seen.
      So the Review is intended to set out New Zealand’s view for a prudent and sensible way forward for the next 15 years. We pretty much operate at a minimum level of capability, anything less would hardly even be a defence force, certainly not one capable of operating from the Antarctic to the Equator.

      • Colonial Viper 12.1.1

        The Review has quite a nuanced approach to China. It is in no-ones interest, including the US, to have an antagonistic relationship with China. Every state in the region has stake to maintaining the stability that has resulted in the greatest improvement in the lives of hundreds of millions that humanity has ever seen.

        China is not interested in helping maintain the pro-US status quo within what it sees as its natural sphere of influence.

        The US is not interested in giving up the American leaning Asian status quo and permitting China to develop a regional sphere of influence of any kind.

      • Draco T Bastard 12.1.2

        The great bulk of the $20 billion, to be spent over a 15 year period, is to replace existing equipment, essentially like for like.
        $20 billion over 15 years?

        That’s pathetic. Actually, anaemic might be a better description.

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.2.1

          It’ll be something like 1.5% of government spend over that time.

  13. ngatimozart 13

    NZ is a maritime nation – an island nation that is wholly dependent upon trade for its economic survival. 99.5% of our trade by volume (around 72% by value) is transported by sea hence our Sea Lines Of communication (SLOC) are our lifelines and extremely important to us. We don’t have to be invaded for a foreign power or non state actor to coerce us. All they have to do is to interfere with with our SLOC to the extent that our economy is severely disrupted and damaged. It is called maritime blockade, is an age old naval strategy and, this is the important bit, in NZs case they don’t have to be close to NZ to do it. Also we do not have a merchant marine with NZ flagged ships plying the worlds oceans, therefore we are totally reliant upon foreign flagged and owned ships for transporting our imports and exports. They do not owe any form of allegiance to us so there is nothing in it for them to stand into danger for us.

    That is why we require current maritime surveillance aircraft, frigates and offshore patrol craft capable of operating in all environments from the equator to the Antarctic and capable of operating in environments that can be high intensity in case of the frigates to medium intensity in the case of the OPVs and maritime surveillance aircraft. We have to operate with other nations specifically Australia,sometimes the US, UK, Canada, France, Malaysia and Singapore. We have to have the abilities to operate with those forces and be self sufficient when we do. That is where the airlift capability comes in. Part of it has to be strategic because of the large distances we are required to cover and some of the equipment we may need to move no longer fits in a Hercules. We also require what is known as tactical airlift, which is relatively short range and smaller loads. Its different horses for different courses.

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      All they have to do is to interfere with with our SLOC to the extent that our economy is severely disrupted and damaged.

      Who are “they” likely to be.

      Name the countries.

      therefore we are totally reliant upon foreign flagged and owned ships for transporting our imports and exports. They do not owe any form of allegiance to us so there is nothing in it for them to stand into danger for us.

      Only a small fraction of the cargo loading of any of these ships is due for a NZ port.

      Please explain how any foreign force would successfully target only the NZ portion of the cargo on these ships.

      If they target the entire ship, they will upset many many countries trade.

      That is why we require current maritime surveillance aircraft, frigates and offshore patrol craft capable of operating in all environments from the equator to the Antarctic

      How many craft will be required to provide an effective screen over this area.

      What part of this agenda is driven by American demands that we be able to operate against Chinese and Russian forces in the future, whether in east Asia or around Antarctica.

      In other words, while you have framed all of this as being in NZ’s security and economic interests, it seems to be anything but.

      • ngatimozart 13.1.1

        Name countries? Well at present I would suggest China because of its actions in the South China and East China Seas. China also has a long history of bullying and invading its neighbours. Possibly Indonesia because it has a recent history of armed aggression against its neighbours and the TNI won’t have forgotten their time in power. They were not happy about having to let go of Timor-Leste and the Indonesians aggressively resist any attempts at West Papuan independence. Now what happens if their is a strong Chinese Russian military alliance? Both nations have expansionist plans at the moment and both are using tactics that are just short of open war. These are the state actors.

        Then there are non state actors such as Daesh for example. They and other Islamic extremist groups are recruiting and organising in Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia. Of those three nations the Philippines is the weakest and has the most potential to become a failed state. It already has an insurgency active within it that shows no sign of abating and the govt has trouble dealing with. There is also a significant amount of piracy within the region and it is increasing. Historically it has always been present, however in recent times it has grown. Where this becomes a real problem is when there is a convergence of piracy and terrorism with sophisticated attacks on soft targets; i.e., merchant shipping. If enough merchant ships are attacked within an area they avoid it like a plague. Insurance rates, hence shipping rates rise so goods prices rise. The effects are ongoing.

        Now regarding blockade and shipping. Under the rules of war, a belligerent warship can stop and search a neutral merchant ship on the high seas. If that ship is found to be to be carrying contraband, which is defined as materials for the nation being blockaded, then that merchant ship can be either seized as a prize or sunk.

        • Colonial Viper 13.1.1.1

          So China has got a long history of being belligerent towards its neighbours, so you say.

          And you say similar about Indonesia.

          Do either have any history of being belligerent towards us?

          No.

          Then you mention Daesh. And other “non-state actors.”

          Explain to me how effective conventional naval equipment has been against Daesh and other “non-state actors.” What use is a frigate or corvette or ASW aircraft against such non-state actors?

          Is there any evidence that million dollar military machines like MBTs and naval ships are any good in a fight against Islamic extremists?

          Anybody reading your rationale can see it is as full of holes as an M113 fired upon by a GPMG.

          Now regarding blockade and shipping. Under the rules of war, a belligerent warship can stop and search a neutral merchant ship on the high seas. If that ship is found to be to be carrying contraband, which is defined as materials for the nation being blockaded, then that merchant ship can be either seized as a prize or sunk.

          How do you expect RNZN vessels to successfully operate 7,500km away from home against these belligerent blockading naval vessels around Indonesia or Southern China which are operating a day or two out of their own home ports?

          How many RNZN vessels will be required to successfully operate against the Indonesian or Chinese navy in South East Asia?

    • Lloyd 13.2

      Any potential aggresor nation against shipping to/from New Zealand would be able to sink any fleet or shoot down any air attack force we could afford before breakfast. Why should we tool up to fight a fight we must lose?

      • Colonial Viper 13.2.1

        You won’t find this mindset adding billions to our diplomatic efforts and soft power

      • ngatimozart 13.2.2

        That is why you have alliances and friends. For a nation of our size you have to work with more powerful nations. However you are expected to pull your weight and take appropriate capabilities along. You don’t take a knife to a gun fight.

        • Colonial Viper 13.2.2.1

          i.e. NZ pull your weight when the western empire decides to get into a fight with a smaller poorer, and probably non-white nation

          Nothing to do with NZ’s interests and security at all. Just a bunch of western elite helping each other out.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.3

      99.5% of our trade by volume (around 72% by value) is transported by sea hence our Sea Lines Of communication (SLOC) are our lifelines and extremely important to us. We don’t have to be invaded for a foreign power or non state actor to coerce us.

      And the only solution to that is to stop being so dependent upon trade. Thing is, with climate change and the decline of the availability of resources over the coming decades means that we’ll have to do that anyway. It becomes a choice of whether we do it now while it’s relatively easy or later when it’s going to be much harder.

      We have to have the abilities to operate with those forces and be self sufficient when we do.

      I tend to look at it the other way. We should be self-sufficient first and then operate with allies from that position of strength. We should never operate from a position of weakness.

      When the going gets tough, we won’t be able to rely upon our allies to save us.

  14. Colonial Viper 14

    Australia to increase defence budget 81%

    http://thediplomat.com/2016/02/australias-defense-budget-to-jump-81-over-next-decade/

    That’s an increase of A$26B p.a. over the next few years.

    The answer for this, and NZ’s increase is simple: the FVEY Deep State gets whatever it wants, and fuck the bottom 90% of the country.

  15. srylands 15

    “Meanwhile the budget resulted in effective cuts to health and education”
    _______

    As it turns out this is not even correct. Health spending has continued to increase in real terms since 2008, no matter how you calculate it. Like Farrar, I had at least assumed that the assertion was arithmetically correct!

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2016/06/labour_lies_on_health.html#comments

  16. Byd0nz 16

    NZ is ruled by Uncle Sam and he wants you to buy womd so to fight for his interests in the sth pacific, after all he is the bully of the world, a world in which NZ is firmly in his pocket, so get to it kiwis, do his bidding, there’s homelessness in the US as well you know, stop wingin and do as your Master says.

  17. Smilin 17

    Thats the price of having a seat a the table of aggression in the UN -Use it or loose it

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