“Labour bragged about increasing Defence spending in their pre-budget announcements but forgot to mention that Defence spending won’t keep up with inflation in the last three years of the budget,” says ACT’s Defence spokesperson James McDowall. “That’s a cut.”

“Two weeks ago, Defence Minister Andrew Little said, “We have a moral obligation to ensure our soldiers, sailors and aviators are fairly paid for the critical and often dangerous work they do.””

“What changed?”

“Labour has given a one-off sugar hit for Defence, but over time there is nothing. This sort of short-term thinking makes New Zealand the weakest link in the West.

“At the rate of inflation forecast in the budget, Defence spending is forecast to be down to 2020 levels by year 2027. But that rate is expected to increase as a direct result of Labour’s increase in debt-funded spending, making Defence even worse off.

“ACT’s Alternative Budget – A Time for Truth, would ensure the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is equipped to do its part in defending New Zealand’s people, allies, and values in today’s increasingly volatile strategic environment.

“The NZDF is grappling with increasing pressures on workforce retention, aging resources, and an inability to afford new technologies.

“Australia's Federal Government Budget recently took defence expenditure even higher to 2.3 per cent by the end of the decade. Only ACT is committing to a sustainable role for New Zealand in an ANZAC alliance where we pull our weight.

- ACT’s Real Change Budget will increase defence operating and capital spending over the next four years to two per cent of GDP. This is the NATO definition of military spending and would bring New Zealand in line with its allies.

“China now has a foothold in the Pacific. Democratic nations like Ukraine are fighting for their lives. The world is changing, and New Zealand needs to be prepared to defend itself and its allies.

“Our Defence force is full of hardworking Kiwis who want to protect and serve their country. We need to give these 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.

“This is the kind of valuable spending that government should be doing, protecting our country and aligning us with our allies.”

Press Contact

[email protected]