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Update - New Zealand Defence Industry Association

Line of Defence Magazine, Winter 2017

The NZDIA's new Chairman, Scott ArrellThe NZDIA's new Chairman, Scott Arrell


New NZDIA Chairman Scott Arrell provides an update on the activities of the association and some insight into its premiere event, the Defence, Industry & National Security Annual Forum, due to take place in Wellington on 10-11 October.


It is with pleasure that I am able to contribute to this edition of Line of Defence as the new Chairman of the New Zealand Defence Industry Association (NZDIA). Since the last edition, Bernie Diver has retired as Chairman, passing the reigns to myself, and we received the sad news that Fraser Boyd has passed away not long after his retirement from the Association.

On behalf of the Board and Members, a token of our appreciation for his loyal service and our condolences have been passed to Margaret, Fraser’s wife.

I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Jennie Vickers who joined us as our new Executive Director in May. Jennie brings a steady hand and a wealth of experience to assist the Board with the growth objectives we have in place. Jennie is an ideal fit with the NZDIA through her strong background in business, commercial contracting, technology and commercial law and has been involved with membership associations in a range of capacities for many years. Welcome aboard Jennie.

In the Defence space, Mark Mitchell, the new Minister of Defence, confirmed a NZ$982m funding boost in the recently released Budget 2017. In summary, the New Zealand’s Defence Force will receive a $406 million boost in operating funding over four years and $576 million in capital as part of Budget 2017. The capital funding includes:

  • $100 million to improve defence camps and bases throughout the country, including facility upgrades in Auckland, Manawatu and Canterbury.
  • $301.7 million for the Littoral Operations Support Ship and the Frigate Communications Upgrade.
  • $36.1 million to replace the underwater intelligence, surveillance systems fitted to the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s six P-3K2 Orions.
  • $28.2 million for counter-explosive hazard and counter-improvised explosive device capability.
  • $110 million to invest in a modern, efficient logistics system that will enable smaller fleets of military equipment to be held and to ensure that equipment is safe.

On the membership front we have had a steady uptake of new members in 2017, which is positive news for our organisation and our growth objectives. Recent new members for 2017 include: Aurecon, NIOA, EPE, Maberly & Co, Sysdoc Group, Fortlock Security Systems, Broadspectrum NZ, Hirtenberger Defence Technology, Advisian, AE Tilley, Martin Aircraft Company, Noske-Kaeser Rail & Vehicle and Harris Communications.

A very warm welcome to you all and I look forward to meeting you over the coming months. It is great to have you affiliated with our organisation. For those of you who are considering membership, please visit our web site for more information


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In addition to welcoming new members, I’d like to congratulate a milestone of member ViaSat, Inc. ViaSat accomplished the successful launch of its ViaSat-2 satellite on 1 June from the Guiana Space Centre. A geostationary satellite operating in Ka-band frequencies, ViaSat-2 was designed to offer high-capacity connectivity and wide coverage, with the flexibility to move capacity to where demand requires it.

ViaSat-2 is expected to significantly improve speeds, reduce costs and expand the footprint of broadband services across North America, Central America, the Caribbean, a portion of northern South America, as well as the primary aeronautical and maritime routes across the Atlantic Ocean between North America and Europe. We look forward to future satellite capabilities that will give coverage to Asia/Pacific.

Also, it is pleasing to see the Prime Minister out and about visiting one of our members. Loop Technologies was privileged to host Prime Minister Bill English for a site visit while he was in Hamilton recently.  It was an opportunity to show the work being performed by a New Zealand high-tech company, and to show how government is providing revenue for Loop Technologies as a regional SME.

Mr English stopped and chatted with several of the Loop Technologies team, and was particularly interested in how they had gained the specialised knowledge on display. He said he hadn’t previously known about Loop, or about the niche that they’ve become good at, and that what he saw was of a world-class standard.  “It was really impressive to see it, and that’s what makes the economy great” said Mr English.

It is with pleasure also that I can report that one of our members, Mr Des Ashton, received the citation for Officer of the NZ Order of Merit for services to Defence and aviation. As many of you will know, Des is the former Deputy Secretary Acquisition, and has now transitioned to running Ashton Technologies. Well done Des.

On the events front we have an exciting programme ahead for the remainder of 2017. They include the Members Meetings on 23 August and 6 December, the Defence & Industry Executive Lunch on 13 July, and our premiere event, the Defence, Industry & National Security Annual Forum in Wellington on 10-11 October. These are all excellent events for networking and showcasing member capabilities to current and prospective clients.

It is pleasing to see that the publishers of Line of Defence, Defsec Media, are making great progress reporting and providing coverage of the Defence and National Security issues in New Zealand. Defsec Media are members of the NZDIA, and I strongly encourage our members and others to support them with content and advertising. It is a worthy objective for our members to lend support to this publication so we can assist its growth and development over time.

It is also important that the issues that are covered by our Association and the media at large extend beyond just Defence to include more broadly National Security, Border Security and more. We see this in the feedback that we get from members, that Defence and National Security go hand in hand and that our members and suppliers often deliver to the broader ecosystem encompassing Defence and National Security Agencies.

For this reason, we have broadened the scope for this year’s Forum. The theme for 2017 being, “Emerging Technologies & Cybersecurity Capabilities Supporting National Security Agencies”.  We are seeing more and more that there are common components that Defence shares with National Security agencies and commercial industries, like cybersecurity and emerging technologies, that widens the relevance of our members’ capabilities to a wider base of partners and stakeholders.

As acknowledged in the Defence White Paper 2016 (DWP), “Defence is one part of a whole of Government approach to New Zealand’s security”. It is the objective of the NZDIA to grow its membership, partnership and stakeholder engagement to those other agencies contributing to national security including Police, Customs, Civil Defence, Government Communications and Security Bureau, Security Intelligence Service, Fire and others as referenced in the DWP 2016.

It is our intent to invite these agencies to our Annual Forum and to increase the dialogue and networking across an even broader audience of members, partners and stakeholders. We very much look forward to delivering a great Forum in October this year so make sure your plans are in place to attend.

All the best for the remainder of 2017 and please check in at our web site for more information on the Association’s membership, activities and events.



Scott Arrell, Chairman, New Zealand Defence Industry Association (NZDIA)


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