New Zealand Defence Force assistance around COVID-19
The New Zealand Defence Force is committed to serving and aiding New Zealand through the rapidly developing situation around COVID-19.
The NZDF is continuing to actively engage with other Government agencies as the situation develops.
So far, the Defence Force has deployed a small number — totalling about 20 — planners and other specialist staff to aid in the response. This number has built up over recent weeks to the current level. These personnel have been deployed to All of Government centres helping manage the response, and to specific government agencies.
As a standing force, available at Government direction, the NZDF has available a number of capabilities should these be required. These range from transport aircraft and vehicles, through to trained personnel who could assist other government agencies where needed. As a relatively small military, the NZDF maintains high states of readiness. This is not unique to the current situation, this is a standing requirement of the Government.
Deployment of NZDF capabilities for specific tasks to assist with the COVID-19 situation would be at the request of the civil authorities, and the Defence Force remains ready to do so.
The main preparation undertaken so far in relation to the current situation has been to take steps to look after the health and safety of our personnel. This is so we have the personnel available to aid the civil authorities where required, and to maintain our other commitments.
These steps have included communicating health advice to all staff, and issuing guidance on remote working where that is possible. Like the rest of New Zealand, our staff are following Ministry of Health and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade guidelines to avoid all non-essential travel and to self-isolate upon returning to New Zealand.
In addition to being, and remaining, prepared, the NZDF continues to provide capabilities for standing commitments — for example the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) capability and Search and Rescue (SAR).