Ministry of Defence (New Zealand)

Ministry of Defence
Manatū Kaupapa Waonga
Agency overview
Formed 1964
Jurisdiction New Zealand
Headquarters Level 4, Defence House,
2-12 Aitken St,
Annual budget Vote Defence
Total budget for 2016/17
Minister responsible
Agency executive
  • Helen Quilter,
    Chief Executive and Secretary of Defence

The Ministry of Defence (Māori: Manatū Kaupapa Waonga) is the public service department of New Zealand charged with advising the government on defence policy, as well as overseeing the New Zealand Defence Force.


The Defence Act, passed on 17 November 1964, established a new Ministry of Defence. Under the Act the three Service departments were combined into the new Ministry. The central core of the new Ministry of Defence was the central Defence Office.[2]

A Defence Council was established which consisted of:

The Defence Council was responsible for:

The boards for each service continued to exist, but they acted under delegated power from the Defence Council. The Chiefs of Staff Committee was retained, but as a committee of the Defence Council. (The Defence Council was later abolished under the Defence Act 1990).[3]

In 1969-71 moves were implemented to provide a fully centralised administration in control of all non-operational functions previously within the responsibility of the three services. These changes were embodied in a further Defence Act that came into effect on 1 April 1972. The Service Boards were abolished and their functions divided between the Chiefs of Staff and a central Defence Headquarters that replaced the Defence Office. The disadvantage of the continued existence of the Service Boards had been one that the one Service could still express its views to the Minister independently of the other Services. Policy formation and planning, logistics and supply, personnel, administration, finance, civil management, and management services were transferred to the central Defence Headquarters. Each Chief of Staff and their separate Headquarters were now only concerned with operational matters.

In 1989 Defence was separated into two separate bodies – the Ministry of Defence headed by the Secretary of Defence, the senior civilian officer and the New Zealand Defence Force headed by the Chief of Defence Force (CDF), the senior military officer. Both are equally answerable to the Minister of Defence for their individual elements.

Under the CDF are the three service chiefs who, as the senior officers of their individual services, act as advisors to CDF and provide forces as required.


Defence House in Wellington

In 1999 James Rofle described in The Armed Forces of New Zealand the then structure of the Ministry of Defence. It numbered only about 70 people in total, with thee divisions involved in policy: Policy Division, Acquisition Division, and Evaluation Division. Also part of the structure were Corporate Services Division and Corporate Finance Division.[4] The Ministry is responsible for the following functions:[5]

See also


  1. "Total Appropriations for Each Vote". 2016 Budget. The Treasury. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  2. Headquarters New Zealand Defence Force, Appraisal Report: New Zealand Army Disposal Schedule, accessed via Archives New Zealand, July 2014. Archived 11 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. "Defence Act 1990". New Zealand Legislation. Parliamentary Counsel Office.
  4. Rolfe, James Grant. The armed forces of New Zealand. St Leonards: Allen & Unwin, 1999, 41-43.
  5. "About Us [Ministry of Defence NZ]". Retrieved 2015-08-26.

Further reading

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