Heather Roy

31 October 2020

Two weeks after the New Zealand election we are awaiting the announcement of Cabinet posts. With a keen interest in Defence, Simon Ewing-Jarvie and I have discussed, in our latest VoterTorque podcast, the possible Labour party MPs who might be our new Minister of Defence.

Traditionally the Defence Minister is in the middle ranking of Cabinet Ministers so we’ve taken a look at who is likely to fall into that bracket. The Australian’s have a female Defence Minister, former Army Reserve Officer Linda Reynolds. Might our PM look to a woman to fill the Defence portfolio here? We’ve talked through our top contenders and the front-runner in our view is Hon Peeni Henare. With announcements due any time we’ll see how accurate our prediction is.

Linked to the Defence portfolio is that of Veteran’s Affairs. In the last government Hon Ron Mark held both portfolios and there is merit in having the two together. Veterans Affairs should be an extension of the Defence portfolio and the funding stems from the Defence budget so it make financial sense too. Here are our thoughts:

It’s fun speculating, but we hope the appointed Minister is taken seriously around the Cabinet table and will advocate for the necessary resources Defence needs. It’s likely Vote:Defence in these COVID times will not be top of the governments list for increased funding. Also needed is a discussion on the core role of the Defence Force.  The significant recent contribution NZDF  has made to border control is not core to it’s function, despite our unusual times. We wait with anticipation.