The buzz from New Zealand’s Strategic Defence Policy Statement (DPS) released last Friday has focused on its uncommon candor about China. According to a statement at the end of the document, the DPS was heavily coordinated across the government, and reflects a commendable shift in public tone. It’s on-trend with how other liberal democracies see the world today, and avoids doublespeak about threats to New Zealand’s interests.
But there’s a more consequential and tangible challenge that the DPS also surfaces: the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has what’s known in force planning as a strategy-force mismatch. That’s when the military lacks the resources to do what it might be asked to do. Where there’s a mismatch there’s risk—to lives, to values, and to international reputations.