New Zealand First believes that our Defence Force holds an extremely important position in the longevity of our nation. Whether it be safeguarding our territory and sovereignty, aiding our neighbours in the Pacific, or even supporting our nation during a civil emergency, our Defence Force plays a great role in keeping us safe. That is why policy must reflect and enable this, so that our Defence Force can adapt to the changing landscape of our modern world.


  • Progressively increase real Defence spending by the equivalent of at least 0.1% of GDP each fiscal year over ten years, so it reaches 2% of GDP by 2030
  • Establish a permanent, ring-fenced Defence Capital Fund as part of the Budget process to fund defence capability and estate procurement, which would have the ability to forward purchase foreign currency
  • Fully implement the Coalition Government’s Defence Capability Plan 2019 and Defence Estate Regeneration Plan 2019, as minimum
  • Double the size of the Reserve Forces, and put the Defence Force on a growth path to reach an overall strength of 20,000 personnel
  • Accelerate the introduction into service of the Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicles capability that was included in the Defence Capability Plan 2019
  • Enhance the combat effectiveness of the Defence Force by re-establishing an air combat capability, and introducing precision strike and heavy lift helicopter capabilities
  • Respond to the findings of the national conversation on establishment of a Kawenata, or Covenant, between service people, the Government and the people of New Zealand
  • Continue to pursue the objectives of the 2017 Coalition Agreement commitment regarding the Youth Education, Training and Employment initiative
  • Continue to support the role the New Zealand Defence Force plays in youth development
  • Undertake a fundamental review of military medals and honours
  • Establish the New Zealand Border Protection Force combining functions of the New Zealand Defence Force, New Zealand Customs Service and Immigration New Zealand to coordinate the protection of our borders from pandemic and biosecurity incursions
  • Introduce a 5% pay increase to all military personnel (cost $50.5 million).