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Govt pledges $571m for Defence Force pay, helicopter and vehicle upgrades

Author
Adam Pearse,
Publish Date
Fri, 10 May 2024, 11:51am

Govt pledges $571m for Defence Force pay, helicopter and vehicle upgrades

Author
Adam Pearse,
Publish Date
Fri, 10 May 2024, 11:51am

The Government’s upcoming Budget will contain $571 million of new funding to boost pay for Defence Force staff, upgrade its NH90 helicopter fleet and replace dated military vehicles. 

The pre-Budget announcement made by Defence Minister Judith Collins also includes $107m in cuts to the NZ Defence Force and the Ministry of Defence — part of the Government’s efforts to reduce public service spending. 

Of the $571m, $163m would be used for “remuneration for uniformed personnel”. The remaining $408m, comprising $127m in operating funding and $281m in capital funding, would be used for new projects. 

While it was yet to get Cabinet approval, one of the projects Collins referenced was initiating the replacement of the 40-year-old Unimogs and Pinzgauer trucks, used to carry personnel and equipment and provide off-road mobility during events such as Cyclone Gabrielle. 

“Replacement vehicles will have integrated communications that will enhance interoperability with regional and global partners such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States,” Collins said. 

New Zealand’s NH90 helicopter fleet would also get new navigation systems and updated encrypted radios to allow for interoperability with overseas partners. 

The latest phase of a project updating aircraft systems, it will deliver a new navigation system for the NH90 helicopter that fully complies with updated Civil Aviation Authority requirements, and complete an upgrade to the NH90 fleet’s encrypted radios. 

The radio upgrade is a requirement to maintain interoperability with other Defence Force assets and with our overseas partners such as Five Eyes and Nato countries. The upgrade will allow the secure transmission of sensitive information between the helicopter, other aircraft, ships, ground forces and headquarters. 

More to come 

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