“New Zealand is a maritime nation with considerable maritime protection responsibilities and a significant role to play in the South Pacific and South East Asia in times of civil emergency or conflict. New Zealand First is committed to building and maintaining a professional and effective Defence Force appropriate to our size and tasking requirements, that is self-sufficient, and capable of operating with maximum efficiency and effectiveness. New Zealand First also places great value and recognition on the service given by our veterans.  Our nation has a special obligation to them – particularly those who suffered as a result of their service.”

— Rt Hon Winston Peters


  • Develop a full-spectrum defence force capable of expeditionary warfare and Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) within New Zealand’s vast Maritime Area of Responsibility (one of the largest on earth).
  • Work within the fiscal parameters of the Defence Capability Plan to return offensive capabilities to the Royal New Zealand Air Force and enhance offensive capabilities of the Army and Navy.
  • Establish as a minimum the 1:1 replacement of major defence materiel.
  • Reverse falling numbers and increase budgets for recruitment, pay, operations, training and live-fire.
  • Prioritise combat-trained forces as best able to contribute to national and regional security, United Nations and other peacemaking initiatives.
  • Ensure the regular forces have all the necessary capabilities to support and assist other agencies.
  • Establish a tri-service Cyberwarfare Special Operations Unit.
  • Re-equip the Royal New Zealand Naval Reserve with its own vessels for inshore patrol, maritime SAR, pollution control and anti-mine warfare.
  • Re-establish and expand the Territorial Force of the NZ Army and return it to its regional roots to, among other things, provide bodies of trained personnel to support Civil Defence, Police and other agencies throughout the country.
  • Legislate for a Defence Force Covenant outlining the States’ obligations to those who served and the rights of those who have served and their families, including the ending of discrimination on matters such as life insurance.
  • Establish an independent Armed Forces Remuneration Board to set pay and conditions.
  • Replace the five-yearly Defence White Paper with a four-yearly Strategic Defence and Security Review to take into account geopolitical factors.
  • Provide improved resourcing to return and expand the Limited Service Volunteer scheme to each of the main centres.
  • Actively encourage and assist the Cadet Forces including its expansion.


  • Legislate for a Defence Force Covenant that will define the obligations of the State to those who served and establish the rights of those who have served and their families including the ending of discrimination on matters such as life insurance.
  • Ensure that all military veterans who meet the eligibility criteria receive a veteran’s pension with full relativity PLUS, in recognition of their service and sacrifice an enhancement over the standard national superannuation rates of 10 percent.
  • Support claims for and the provision of health services to veterans and their children who have been affected by Agent Orange, nuclear testing and suffer such health issues as cancer.
  • Work with the RNZRSA towards providing veterans with a sustainable health care package.
  • Support RNZRSA services to veterans.
  • Review the operations of Veterans Affairs New Zealand to ensure the client (i.e. the veteran) focused service operating model is maintained and optimised and that the onus of proof is on VANZ and not the veteran.
  • Ensure key dates in New Zealand military history are commemorated.