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New Zealand delays defence review

Australia's Minister for Defence Richard Marles (left) and New Zealand's Minister of Defence Peeni Henare (right) agreed to enhance biltaeral defence co-operation during recent talks in Geelong, Victoria. (Commonwealth of Australia)

The publication of the first part of New Zealand's new defence review has been pushed back to March 2023 – a delay of almost six months.

Under the Terms of Reference for the review, announced in July, a β€˜defence policy and strategy statement' was scheduled to be released in October. The statement is the first of the four to be produced under the review.

Michael Swain, deputy secretary for defence policy and planning, New Zealand Ministry of Defence (MoD), told Janes, β€œA defence policy and strategy statement will now be provided to the government in March, followed by a future force design principles statement in June 2023. This is a delay from the original dates in the terms of reference, although we expect the full review to still be completed by the original timeline of mid-2024.”

Swain said that the reason for the delay is that extra time is needed to ensure that the policy and strategy statement is sound.

β€œThe defence policy and strategy statement is a foundational document to the review process and it is important the time is taken to get it right. This includes making sure there is enough time to consult with experts and other agencies to test the thinking and the approach,” Swain said.

Neighbouring Australia is also undertaking a new defence review process following the election of a new Labor government in May 2022. It is scheduled to publish its recommendations in March 2023.

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