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

contributors saw as important at that time. Reflecting now on the book’s content and focus, it is ap­parent that aspects of the national security environment both locally and international­ly have changed dramatically. A number of events have evolved our focus and priorities and will likely result in structural change for the national security sector. Events such as the Christchurch Terror attack, the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak, the destruction of the Islamic State, the WannaCry and NotPetya malicious crypto worm malware attacks, and a rise of a new set of polarised domestic and international politics around economic protectionism have all significantly impacted the context in which national security issues are discussed. More broadly, the impact of climate change on security is also beginning to emerge as a future issue. This article details these events and themes and explains how they bring new pressures and concerns for those organisations tasked with delivering national security outcomes. These events and themes also demand that the academic scholarship devoted to this subject also evolve and adjust its assumptions. This article is intended to supply readers of this new journal an updated broad contex­tual understanding of the recent changes in the New Zealand national security context whether they be evolved threats or structural changes.

This article will review three areas of interest to update the context and our broader thinking about the study of national security in New Zealand (NZ). It will discuss 1) the evolving national security context both global and local, 2) the changes to the New Zealand national security system and, 3) review recent national security research. The article will then conclude by pointing to the future challenges for national security re­search in the New Zealand context.

This article utilises the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s (DPMC) definition of national security to understand its field of study.2 The national security domain is a broad church of study and New Zealand’s perspective is to have an all-hazards all-risks approach to national security.3 Theoretically, it assumes that national security occurs at the intersection of the domestic and international.4 But the term itself and any cor­responding field of research addresses uncertainty, insecurity and a shifting series of concerns.5 This effectively means that the field of study can quickly evolve traditional security locations of defence, policing, intelligence and border security out into a num­ber of domains including the economy, agriculture, climate, social media and the rami­fications of a malware release anywhere in the world. The national response plan to the impact of Mycoplasma bovis incursion on our economy and the intelligence resources required to combat this challenge is an example of how security issues evolve. In the next section of the article, we move to discuss the global and local changes that have impacted upon New Zealand’s national security.

The Global Security Context

The international context in which New Zealand’s security is researched and operation­alised has changed significantly since 2017. Over the last two years New