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New Zealand Defence Force

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The New Zealand Defence Force (Maori: Te Ope Kaatua o Aotearoa, "Line of Defence of New Zealand") consists of three services: the Royal New Zealand Navy; the New Zealand Army; and the Royal New Zealand Air Force. The Commander-in-Chief of the NZDF is Sir Jerry Mateparae, Governor-General of New Zealand who exercises his power on the advice of the Minister of Defence, Jonathan Coleman, under the Defence Act 1990. The commander and head of the NZDF is the Chief of Defence Force (CDF), General Rhys Jones, who also acts as the primary military adviser to the Minister of Defence.

New Zealand's armed forces have three defence policy objectives; to defend New Zealand against low-level threats, to contribute to regional security; and to play a part in global security efforts. New Zealand considers its own national defence needs to be modest, due to its geographical isolation and benign relationships with neighbours. As of September 2008, approximately 1600 NZDF personnel served overseas in the South Pacific, Asia and Middle East areas.


  • Active Personnel: 48,200 (Air Force: 15,000; Army: 16,400; Navy: 16,800)
  • Reserve Personnel: 25,100 (Air Force: 5,400; Army: 10,100; Navy: 9,600)
  • 2012 Budget: $8,420,030,300 (2.2% of GDP)
  • Commander in Chief of the NZF: Queen Elizabeth II (through Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae)
  • Head of Government of New Zealand: Prime Minister John Key
  • Defense Minister of New Zealand: Jonathan Coleman
  • Chief of Defence Forces: General Rhys Jones
  • Chief of the Army: Lieutenant General Arthur David Gawn, MBE
  • Chief of the RNZAF: Air Marshal Peter James Stockwell AFC
  • Chief of the RNZN: Vice Admiral Jack Steer, ONZM
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