“ACT is pleased to see that National Party members have read ACT’s Real Change Budget and supported a remit to adopt our policy of raising defence spending to 2 per cent of GDP,” says ACT’s Defence spokesperson Dr James McDowall.

“Politik reported yesterday that a delegate at the National Party’s Lower North Island conference proposed a remit to match Australia’s proportion of GDP spent on defence, and that the remit passed.

"This support at a grassroots level is welcome and we now call on the Party to make it official policy.

“It’s great to have this support and it bodes well for a centre-right Government. This is a necessary change to put us in line with our allies and protect us in a dramatically changing geopolitical environment.

“China now has a foothold in the Pacific. Labour agrees that the world is changing but they don’t know what to do and they’re too busy wasting money on poorly targeted spending.

“ACT says we should follow the NATO target and methodology. It would see $7.5 billion in extra capital expenditure over the next four years, this is almost double what Labour would spend.

“Our Defence force is full of hardworking Kiwis who want to protect and serve their country. We need to give our brave men and women the tools and resources they need. This kind of targeted spending would send a message to the rest of the world.

“Now that National is on board with ACT’s policy we hope that Labour also do the right thing and announce it as part of this week’s Budget.”