Media Release

Defence estate regeneration plan approved

August 19 2016

Approval has been given for a $1.7 billion rejuvenation of Defence buildings, infrastructure and facilities, Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced.

“Work on the 81,000 hectare Defence estate is needed to make it fit for purpose and operating as efficiently and effectively as possible,” Mr Brownlee says.

“This is not only a big deal for the Defence Force, but represents significant economic stimulus across a number of regions over the next 15 years.

“Many of the 5000 buildings on defence land are old and need to be modernised.

“New, fit-for-purpose facilities are required to cater for current and future capabilities.

“Without investment, the estate faces a risk of rapid deterioration.” 

Mr Brownlee says over the next 15 years there will be a large amount of investment, resulting in better working conditions for personnel and an estate better able to support current and future military operational outputs, and improved capacity for all-of-government collaboration.

The plans follow the direction of the 2016 Defence White Paper.

“The NZDF will not be closing any of its main camps and bases or large training areas, although some internal reorganisation and rationalisation between camps and bases will occur if it makes sense to do so,” Mr Brownlee says.

“Most of the capital investment will go to upgrade operational facilities in Auckland, Manawatu and Canterbury.

“Initially, investment will be directed towards health, safety and compliance measures, as well as initial recapitalisation works such as starting to replace old, outdated barracks with modern facilities.

“From 2021 to 2025, major upgrades of infrastructure and buildings are planned, and from 2026 to 2030 investment will be targeted at maintaining the Defence estate to meet operating requirements,” Mr Brownlee says.

Note to editors: More information is in the New Zealand Defence Force document Defence Estate Regeneration 2016-2030 (external link)  (pdf, 5.4MB).


Q. Why is defence estate investment needed now?

A. The 2010 Defence White Paper noted much of the Defence estate was facing a risk of rapid deterioration, and intervention was required to make it fit for purpose.  The investment will address this and follows the 2016 Defence White Paper, which noted planning was underway for the regeneration.

Q. What has been approved for investment?

A. The Government has approved capital investment for the first four years of the programme out to the 2019-2020 financial year.

Q. What will be built on camps and bases?

A. The estate regeneration programme signals 104 projects over the next five years including replacing buildings, upgrading utilities, new barracks, new headquarter buildings, workshops upgrades and new logistics facilities.  There is flexibility in the plan to allow for new projects as decisions are made about future capability requirements.

Q. When will development start?

A. Some building work is underway. For example, work has started on building a specialised Aviation Medical Unit at RNZAF Base Auckland, Whenuapai.  In the first three years of the programme, investment will be focused on upgrading buildings and facilities that are no longer fit for purpose, such as replacing outdated barracks.  Compliance measures, including upgrades of waste facilities, and flight line fencing at Whenuapai and Ohakea air bases will also take place.

Q. What will happen at each camp and base?

A. There is a five-year indicative programme of work.  Examples of projects are available in the NZDF document Defence Estate Regeneration 2016-2030 on the NZDF website.  Some of the work proposed includes:

  • At the Devonport Naval Base provision for a multi-storey car park and office building to create more efficient use of space on the base. Small boat storage and wash down areas and ship loading areas are also allowed for in the first few years of the programme.
  • At RNZAF Base Auckland, Whenuapai, there will be a gym adjacent to the Aviation Medical Unit, as part of a health and wellbeing precinct.
  • At Waiouru plans include a mounting base headquarters, communications and control centre. Units from different areas will meet and train at the mounting base before deploying on operations.
  • At Linton a central `hub’ and camp headquarters with operational units consolidated in adjacent precincts/areas are proposed.
  • At Ohakea, projects include a covered refuelling area, logistics warehouse, and the replacement of a taxiway.
  • At Burnham, a health and rehabilitation centre and various upgrades to communications, electrical network and storage facilities are planned.

Q.  Will any camps and bases be closing as part of the programme?

A.  No.  The NZDF will maintain a substantial presence in all its major locations.  There may be some internal reorganisation and rationalisation between bases where it makes military or economic sense to do so.  The NZDF has nine main camps and bases, two large training areas and several regional support centres, as well as headquarters in Wellington.

Q. Do you have preferred contractors to carry out the building work?

A. NZDF will be going to the market for the major building works and is investigating establishing a strategic business partner arrangement for the delivery of work.

Q. How big is the Defence estate?

A. The estate comprises 81,000 hectares and around 5000 buildings.  It is currently valued at $4.3 billion.

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