Foreign Affairs, Trade and Defence

New Zealand is a trading and internationally driven country. New Zealand First believes our approach to international relations should focus on independence, resilience, and cooperation with a diverse group of trading partners so that we cannot be economically devastated by one trading partner.

Foreign Affairs and Trade & Exports

New Zealand First believes that our country must have an active role to play in international politics. We believe in promoting New Zealand’s interests and facilitating cooperation and trust between other nations. It is through our foreign policy that New Zealand gains fair free trade agreements, cooperation on pressing issues such as climate change, and sound representation of our citizens living abroad.


  • Explore the feasibility of introducing an exporters tax of 20% for new business or product lines
  • Remain strongly committed to New Zealand’s anti-nuclear policy
  • Further develop relationships within the greater Asia-Pacific region in recognition of its growing importance to New Zealand’s security and wellbeing
  • Continue to support the “Pacific reset” so money spent wisely now is money saved on any repairs and rebuilding in the future
  • Continue with the progress made on the free trade agreement with the United Kingdom as a larger part of advocating for closer Commonwealth Economic Relations
  • Work to advance trade relationships to ensure certainty of our supply chain and to establish agreements such as a ‘Commonwealth Connection’ trade agreement with the UK and commonwealth countries post Brexit
  • Encourage businesses to engage in import substitution 
  • Broaden the role of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise to better enhance exporting prospects where we have a competitive advantage
  • Continue work towards establishing a full free trade agreement with the United States
  • Maintain our strong Foreign Affairs links to collaborate with our partners on border policy that is responsive to the economic and health needs of New Zealand.


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).


New Zealand First places great value and recognition on the service and sacrifice made by our veterans. We believe that policy must reflect this as our nation has a special obligation to our veterans, especially those who have suffered as a result of their service.


  • Respond to the findings of the national conversation on the establishment of a Kawenata, or Covenant, between service people, the government and the people of New Zealand
  • Investigate the establishment of a Ministry for Veterans, as a separate statutory entity from the New Zealand Defence Force
  • Establish and resource a dedicated research capability to study matters of concern to veterans and their wellbeing
  • Explore ways of supporting emerging, contemporary veterans support organisations
  • Continue to implement the recommendations of the independent report Warrant of Fitness (an independent review of the Veterans’ Support Act 2014)
  • Working with the Veterans community, investigate the establishment of a Veterans’ Day
  • Respond to the recommendations of the Veterans’ Advisory Board that the definition of a veteran be expanded so that all who have served are considered veterans