The Changing New Zealand National Security Environment: New Threats, New Structures, and New Research

Author: Hoverd, W.J.
Published in National Security Journal, Volume 1, Issue 1, October 2019

bibliographies weaken the authority of the researcher. Reading gaps weaken the efficacy of the research as they can omit related studies that could nuance one’s research question, methodology or findings. Ultimately, a lack of reading reduces the credibility of the research product and the researcher. Moreover, this lack of reading has real consequences when it comes to the fact that national se­curity research engages with wicked problems and can influence media engagement and government action. Across the board, it is critically important that we encourage all researchers to read more, both widely and deeply. If I could change one thing about national security scholarship it would be to urge all national security researchers that before they speak or write just to review the literature one more time. It will refresh, strengthen and mature your analysis and this will benefit everybody. This journal offers us all the opportunity to broaden our reading around national security.

Final thoughts

This article has reviewed three areas of interest to update the context and our broader thinking about the study of New Zealand national security: 1) The evolving national security context both global and local, 2) the changes to the New Zealand national security system, and 3) it reviews recent national security research. In each section, the article pointed to the various future challenges for national security research in the New Zealand context. However, as I conclude writing this article it’s content feels very much a placeholder between our original volume on national security and what will happen after the results of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Attack on Christchurch Mosques87 are made available. I am of the view that it is these results that are likely to drive the major priorities for New Zealand national security for the medium term. And at this stage, it is difficult to predetermine what these priorities might be. Structurally, I think we can expect right wing extremism to be a major focus of national security discourse, at least in the short to medium term. As a corollary, we should expect to hear national security concerns about “radicalisation” be substituted with a discourse con­cerned with “extremism.” This shift of term to extremism opens more of a broad church of focus, where radicalisation does seem to be a product of a particular focus on Muslim populations. Given that Christchurch has been, and will continue to be, a major sea change in how we think about and do national security, mechanisms will been needed to provide independent thought leadership focusing on the ramifications of this event. If we look to the long term, the effects of climate change are going to increasingly im­pact our discussions around “security events” and we can see that the National Security System (through NEMA) and the NZDF (through its 2019 and 2018 publications) is being increasingly focused around the assets and infrastructure to address this issue. In the future, given that we are an island nation with a responsibility to the South Pacific there will inevitably be increasing national security infrastructure devoted to address­ing the effects of climate change. Importantly, it will be one role of this new national security journal to provide the incremental advances in research occurring in this space and to provide an evidence basis for these contemporary concerns and this journal also offers a natural place for us all to remedy this concern around a lack of reading.