WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand’s budget for 2015/16 will include NZ $3.07 billion (US $2.24 billion) for the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), down $10 million from last year.
Almost $1.99 billion is going to the three armed services: The Army’s budget rises 2.3 percent to $742 million, the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) receives 2 percent more with $759 million, and the Royal New Zealand Navy’s budget increases 3.8 percent to $492 million.
Budget estimates reveal that all three services underspent last year; the Army by $11 million, the Air Force by $10 million and the Navy by $7 million.
The Ministry of Defence’s budget for appropriations, however, has been substantially cut, from $414 million to $239 million. However, Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says the ministry will receive new operating funding of $27 million over the next four years.
Programs include $105 million to upgrade the Navy’s two frigates, $40 million for Kaman SH-2G(I) Seasprite helicopters, $7.4 million for new digital radios for the NZDF and $7 million on pilot training.
There is also $25.4 million budgeted for the two-year “Building Partner Capacity” mission to help train the Iraqi Defence Force.