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.
New Zealand is surrounded by ocean, so the natural defence of our country starts at sea. To keep the country safe and secure, and help with the safety and security of those who depend on us, the Navy has to have the equipment, people and skills necessary to go into combat if required.
A naval operation can come in different forms. We could be defending New Zealand’s territory - our highest priority. We could be delivering a combat capability in our Exclusive Economic Zone, or in our neighbourhood - anywhere from the South Pole to the Equator. We could be part of a combined operation in New Zealand or another part of the world.
Our security depends on being in partnership with other navies, working together to promote security and peace. That means from time to time we share the naval 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 Navy has to be combat-capable in order to do our share. If we go somewhere to conduct maritime operations with our partner countries, we support them and they support us. That means we need to be as good as they are, and bring the right maritime 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 Navy 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.