BLUF

The strongly pro-defence New Zealand First Party losing all of its seats at the last election might result in domestic issues taking priority over defence.

Summary

In the recent NZ election, the pro-defence NZ First Party, led by Winston Peters, lost all of its seats. In the previous coalition government, the NZ First Party Members Winston Peters and Ron Mark respectively held the Foreign and Defence MinistriesPeters was concerned about China's increasing involvement in the South Pacific. Mark convinced colleagues to replace the out-dated P-3 Orion with the P-8 Poseidon and, C-130H Hercules with C-130Js, which greatly enhanced NZ's interoperability with Australia and the USA. NZ's Covid-19 induced budget deficit may mean that in future domestic issues, climate change, and South Pacific aid may take priority over defence spending. The US Biden administration does, however, share some of the NZ government's priorities such as:
  • Multilateral diplomacy.
  • Climate change cooperation.
  • Rules-based order at home as well as offshore.
Consider the implications for Australia of NZ being less focused on geostrategic issues.