New Zealand Military - 2023


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Military and security forces

New Zealand Defense Force (NZDF): New Zealand Army, Royal New Zealand Navy, Royal New Zealand Air Force (2023)

note: the New Zealand Police, under the minister of police, are responsible for internal security

Military expenditures

1.4% of GDP (2022 est.)

1.3% of GDP (2021)

1.5% of GDP (2020)

1.4% of GDP (2019)

1.2% of GDP (2018)

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 12,200 active-duty troops including active reservists (6,600 Army; 2,800 Navy; 2,800 Air Force) (2023)


Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the NZDF is equipped mostly with Western-supplied weapons and equipment with the US as the leading provider (2023)

Military service age and obligation

17 years of age for men and women for voluntary military service; soldiers cannot be deployed until the age of 18; no conscription (2023)

note 1: New Zealand opened up all military occupations to women in 2000; women currently account for about 15% of regular armed forces personnel

note 2: as of 2022, the NZDF’s program for recruiting foreign volunteers had been suspended

Military deployments

up to 220 Antarctica (summer season only) (2022)

Military - note

the NZDF is a small and professional military with considerable overseas experience; it supports the country’s national security objectives by protecting New Zealand’s sovereignty, promoting its interests, safeguarding peace and security, and conducting peacekeeping, humanitarian, and other international missions; the Army’s primary combat units are an infantry brigade and a special forces regiment; the Navy has a small force of frigates and patrol vessels, while the Air Force has squadrons of maritime patrol, anti-submarine, and anti-surface warfare aircraft 

New Zealand is a member of the Five Powers Defense Arrangements (FPDA), a series of mutual assistance agreements reached in 1971 embracing Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the UK; the FPDA commits the members to consult with one another in the event or threat of an armed attack on any of the members and to mutually decide what measures should be taken, jointly or separately; there is no specific obligation to intervene militarily

New Zealand has been part of the Australia, New Zealand, and US Security (ANZUS) Treaty since 1951; however, the US suspended its ANZUS security obligations to New Zealand in 1986 after New Zealand implemented a policy barring nuclear-armed and nuclear-powered warships from its ports; the US and New Zealand signed the Wellington Declaration in 2010, which reaffirmed close ties between the two countries, and in 2012 signed the Washington Declaration, which provided a framework for future security cooperation and defense dialogues; in 2016, a US naval ship conducted the first bilateral warship visit to New Zealand since the 1980s; New Zealand has Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status with the US, a designation under US law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation (2023)

NOTE: The information regarding New Zealand on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of New Zealand 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about New Zealand 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 06 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.