In May 2001, the government announced it was scrapping its combat airforce. New Zealand states it maintains a "credible minimum force," although critics maintain that the country's defense forces have fallen below this standard. With a claimed area of direct strategic concern that extends from Australia to Southeast Asia to the South Pacific, and with defense expenditures that total around 1% of GDP, New Zealand necessarily places substantial reliance on its defense relationship with other countries, in particular Australia.
New Zealand is an active participant in multilateral peacekeeping. It has taken a leading role in trying to bring peace, reconciliation, and reconstruction to the Solomon Islands and the neighboring island of Bougainville. New Zealand maintains a contingent in the Sinai Multinational Force and Observers and has contributed to UN peacekeeping operations in Angola, Cambodia, Somalia, and the former Yugoslavia. It also participated in the Multilateral Interception Force in the Persian Gulf. New Zealand's most recent PKO experience has been in East Timor, where it initially dispatched almost 10% of its entire defense force and continues to be the second-largest force contributor.
New Zealand participates in sharing training facilities, personnel exchanges, and joint exercises with the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Brunei, Tonga, and South Pacific states. It also exercises with its Five-Power Defense Arrangement partners--Australia, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, and Singapore. Due to New Zealand's antinuclear policy, defense cooperation with the U.S., including training exercises, has been significantly restricted since 1986.
Military branches: New Zealand Army, Royal New Zealand Navy, Royal New Zealand Air Force
Military manpower - military age: 20 years of age
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 990,774 (2000 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 834,289 (2000 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 26,649 (2000 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $883 million (FY97/98)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1.1% (FY97/98)