The government requires us to be ready to conduct military operations. It provides the resources that enable us to do our job, and tasks us to undertake operations when required. It’s what we train to do.
If we want to keep New Zealand safe and secure, and also help with the safety and security of those who depend on us, the Air Force has to have the equipment, people and skills necessary to go into combat if required.
An Air Force operation can come in different forms. It can be defending New Zealand’s territory - our highest priority. It can be delivering a combat capability in our Exclusive Economic Zone, and in New Zealand’s neighbourhood - anywhere from the South Pole to the Equator. Or, it can be part of a combined operation in New Zealand or another part of the world.
New Zealand’s security depends on being in partnership with other countries, working together to promote security and peace. That means from time to time the NZDF shares the military duties that help create stability not only in New Zealand’s territory, but across the globe. While we don’t have the resources of larger countries, the NZDF has to be combat-capable in order to do our share. If our personnel go somewhere with our partner countries, we support them and they support us. That means our military needs to be as good as they are, and bring the right skills to the job.
The Defence Force is subject to civilian control, through the Minister of Defence and the Prime Minister’s Cabinet, and is open and honest with the New Zealand public about our activities, within the security constraints essential to our role. We represent New Zealand’s foreign policy and are bound by international laws, such as the law of armed conflict and international human rights law.
This means that when the Air Force embarks on operations, we’re not only a good international citizen, we’re ready to stand alongside partner countries and be counted on to be effective.