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ACT National Security Policy


The prime responsibility of government is to keep its citizens safe. In an unpredictable world and a region that faces ongoing instability, it is vital that we put an end to 'stove-pipe' thinking in the structure and funding of the many elements that contribute toward the overall goal of keeping kiwis safe. This requires the focus to be on national security and means that contributing arms of the State would operate within a formal Whole-of-Government context, rather than the current ad hoc arrangements. At the highest level, this means:

  • Fewer Cabinet Ministers under a new National Security portfolio.
  • The appointment of an independent National Security Advisor (NSA)
  • The removal of the ODESC (Officials Committee for Domestic and External Security Co-ordination from the DPMC (Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet) structure and re-formed under the NSA.
  • Immediately conduct an External Assessment to update the one now in use, which pre-dates Sept 11, 2001. The world has changed.
  • An all-of-government focus on regenerating New Zealand's Reserve Forces
  • The Regulatory Responsibility Bill, in its final form, would include provision for considering national security implications of legislation.


Our Defence Force must have balance, which will not be achieved by politicians picking favourites. Defence is a team and, like any, is only as strong as its weakest player. As such, all capabilities will be reviewed to ensure that the long term funding and purchase decisions of the RNZN (Navy), NZ Army and RNZAF (Air Force) - which affect capabilities for 30-50 years in some cases - do not leave capability gaps and are harmonized with those of our traditional allies.

  • Re-merge the MOD and NZDF as recommended in the Hunn Report.
  • Re-build the NZ Defence Force to 30,000 personnel (including 20,000 TF/Reserves) over 5 years through new initiatives including:
    • Voluntary National Service - i.e. educational scholarship offset by service to the country in a range of areas from trades to professions as well as Defence.
    • retention and re-enlistment incentives for currently serving personnel and their families.
    • the requirement for departing regular personnel to undertake current reserve service liability
    • incentives for civilian staff of the government and defence contracting companies to enlist in the reserve forces.
  • Repeal of the ban on nuclear-powered allied ships,
  • the re-commissioning of the Aermacchi jets in both training and limited operational roles and disposal of the Skyhawks as parts and collectors' items.
  • Lease a third ANZAC Class frigate to bring the RNZN frigate Squadronn up to its minimum functioning capability for remaining on station (3:1). To not do so is to effectively write off a green-water, combat capable navy over time.
  • Embed NZDF units within allied forces (as was done with 2 Sqn, RNZAF at Nowra, NSW) to maintain experience on platforms such as jets and tanks that are too expensive to purchase ourselves or too difficult to transport to operational theatres.

Veteran's Affairs

If National Security is to operate effectively for the safety of all kiwis, veterans must be considered an essential element of the policy. Without this focus, recruitment, retention and morale become serious capability degraders. Veterans are not just any patient, nor are their pensions and payments the same as other forms of social welfare benefit. Our veterans have contributed significantly to the freedoms we enjoy today. They deserve more than a one-off pageant and a Veterans' Year badge. ACT's policy includes:

  • Enhanced services based on Veterans' insurance
  • Redressing inequity in medallic recognition
  • Change to the War Pensions Act 1954 and other relevant but outdated pensions and grants
  • Veterans' Affairs Review
  • Supporting Returned Services Welfare Structures

Emergency Services

This group of services collectively contribute, on a daily basis, to the safety of all New Zealanders. However, ACT believes that it is time for all emergency services to be re-examined as one group with a view to improving structure, cross-competence, communications (including 111) and funding. Services to be reviewed in this group include:

  • Fire Service
  • Civil Defence & Emergency Management
  • Coastguard
  • Search & Rescue
  • Ambulance
  • Rescue Helicopters

Customs, Immigration, Airspace

A safe New Zealand is like a healthy body. A natural and enhanced defence allows Kiwis to pass back and forth unimpeded but stops threats from entering or deals with them quickly when identified. This means a comprehensive approach to border control including customs, immigration and management of airspace and territorial waters. Specifics of ACT's approach include:

  • Simplification of screening procedures at ports, with an emphasis on assuming travellers to be innocent, as in court, rather than the current arrangement which alienates public support for security.
  • Focus on high risk people and goods, via intelligence, through re-establishment of traditional alliances and development of new ones.
  • A review of current immigration criteria to ensure that those who wish to come to live here, can perform the professions and trades they enter under and do not use New Zealand as a revolving door to Australia and elsewhere.
  • A review of the refugee programme - include family re-unification criteria - to ensure those entering are actually in need of refuge and that those arriving unannounced without documents are not allowed to enter the country.
  • An enhanced capability to detect high risk goods at ports of entry.
  • An enhanced capability to interdict airspace intruders.

Biosecurity, Fisheries, Shipping

As a trading nation and tourist destination, NZ is dependent on its 'clean green' reputation, the protection of its natural resources and reliable shipping lanes to move products to their markets. Without these, our economy would be vulnerable. That's why they are an important aspect of national security. ACT's policy in this area is closely aligned with elements of defence and border control and includes:

  • Upgrading intelligence relationships with traditional allies. Fore-warned is fore-armed.
  • Improved border screening procedures for high risk goods and people.
  • Provision of an environment that will create an enhanced balance of relevant output from universities, public and private sector science facilities that address matters of biosecurity and fisheries management.
  • Enhanced ability to interdict poachers and unwelcome transits in our EEZ as well as tougher penalties to make it an undesirable option for those that would steal our assets.
  • Review of the legislation pertaining to NZ-flagged ships and their crews.
  • Upgrade of the capability (RNZN and RNZAF) to protect NZ and allied-flagged merchant ships in cooperation with other countries.

International Security & Alliances

International trade and foreign relations cannot be separated from national security. Part of the Kiwi lifestyle is to be able to travel freely and return safely to our homes. We need our products to arrive in good shape at their destinations without interference. For there to be markets for us, the world needs to be safe and to achieve this, we need to play our part in peace and security arrangements that do not directly impinge on us. No country, on its own, is powerful enough to guarantee world stability. In short, we have a high degree of self-interest in contributing to the general deterrent effect against aggressors everywhere.

Right now, New Zealand has very few formal alliances. Before considering new undertakings, ACT believes that arrangements with traditional allies must be repaired.

  • The ANZUS alliance (Australia, New Zealand & the United States) exists on paper but is effectively void due to our prohibition on the US bringing its nuclear propelled warships into our waters.
  • Closer Defence Relations (CDR) is a subset of the Closer Economic Relations (CER) arrangement with Australia but is also hampered by the breakdown of ANZUS and lack of capability alignment with Australia.
  • The Five Power Defence Arrangement (FPDA) is the legacy of Britain's colonial presence in Asia and includes NZ, Australia, Britain, Malaysia and Singapore. However, New Zealand's ability to contribute, in reality, is very limited.
  • We are an active participant in the United Nations and also in various non-UN efforts to bring peace to troubled areas, but there is more that could be done.

We believe that peace and security can only be founded on economic prosperity. Our interests can be grouped into two - regional (the Asia Pacific region) and international security. We need alliances that reflect this and which are based first and foremost on the economic groupings that underpin those groups, for example:

  • Security alliances based around groups like the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) or the Association of South East Asian nations (ASEAN)
  • We cannot ignore the fact that India is the most capable military nation in this region; that Indonesia is one of the most populace and economically vulnerable nations in our region or that China is rapidly becoming a major economic and military stakeholder in our neighbourhood.

Police, Courts, Victim's Rights and Prisons

These are important elements of keeping kiwis safe from harm. They are covered in the Law and Order Policy