Summary of NZDF Annual Report Information For FY2012/13 - FY2016/17

Peter King made this Official Information request to New Zealand Defence Force

The request was refused by New Zealand Defence Force.

From: Peter King

Dear New Zealand Defence Force,

Despite the recent Strategic Review's claims that NZ's defence force acts to maintain the ideal of Open Society the 2016 Annual Report was, in my view, even more opaque than its predecessors, and that a growing tendency towards obscurity now makes it very difficult for citizens to make value judgements about the relative value of defence expenditure.

Therefore I request the following information

For each of the years FY2012/13 - FY2016/17 inclusive

For each RNZAF Squadrons: 3,5,6,14, 40, 42
Total actual expenditure (incl capital charge, ex GST)
Total flying hours
Operational availability (std definition)

For 3 Squadron NH90s
Total actual expenditure (incl capital charge, ex GST)
Operational availability (std definition)
Total flying hours

For 3 Squadron A109Ms
Total actual expenditure (incl capital charge, ex GST)
Operational availability (std definition)
Total flying hours

For each of the following RNZN ships:
Total actual annual expenditure (incl capital charge, ex GST)
Days Available
Days at sea

For each of the following NZ Army Units:
Royal NZ Artillery
Royal NZ Armoured Corps
Corps of Royal NZ Engineers
Royal NZ Corps of Signals
Royal NZ Infantry
Royal NZ Army Logistic Regiment
Royal NZ Army Medical Corps
Royal NZ Military Police
NZ Special Operations Forces
NZ Intelligence Corps
NZ Army Physical Training Corps
Army Reserve
Army Band
Total annual unit expenditure (incl KiwiSaver, ex GST)
Total Person days employed
Person-days deployed (training and exercises)
Person days deployed (operations)

For each of the following NZ Army asset classes:
NZLAV (all variants)
Pinzgauer (all variants)
Unimog U1300L trucks
Unimog U1700L trucks
MB2228/41 trucks
MAN HX58 trucks
MAN HX60 trucks
MAN HX77 trucks
Total available vehicles
Total maintenance expenditure (parts and hours, ex GST)
Total fuel expenditure (ex GST)
Total capital charge
Total kilometres driven
Availability rate

For each of the following elements of the Defence Estate
End of Year valuation of land
End of Year valuation of Improvements
Total Maintenance Expenditure (ex GST)
Capital Expenditure

For each of the following classes of consumables for the entire defence force
Petrol (all Octanes)
Avgas or Jet
Marine oil
Marine gas
Total expenditure (ex GST)
Total fuel CO2 emitted (in NZ responsibility area)

Compiled as a CSV spreadsheet with FY years as columns and each item requested above labelled in rows.

The requester intends to publish this information so that it is available to others.

Yours faithfully,

Peter King

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From: Ministerial Services
New Zealand Defence Force

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Attachment OIA 2018 3170 King response letter scan 7 August 2018.pdf
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Good afternoon Mr King
Please find attached a response to your request:
Corporate and Ministerial Services
OCDF, Office of Chief of Defence Force
New Zealand Defence Force
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Peter King left an annotation ()

complaint filed with Office of the Ombudsman 10 August 2018

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Peter King left an annotation ()

I have written to the Office of the Auditor General re NZDF accounts: Open letter to OAG:!ApVpXQf5jsxEhOpniXPd...
Their reply is here!ApVpXQf5jsxEhOpoqPiB...

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Peter King left an annotation ()

I have been informed by the Ombudsman that its "investigation" into the NZDF's refusal turns on its claim that

"Mr King has essentially asked 194 questions requiring answers for five separate financial years. That equates to 970 data points requiring research, collation, verification, and in some cases, reconstruction of baseline reporting... the initial discovery phase would likely take 40 hours. For the collation of data, [staff] have estimated two hours per data point resulting in an estimated 48.5 working days for one financial year. For all five financial years it is estimated that the collation of information would take 242.5 working days... This does not account for some of the non-financial information that may take longer to research..."

I have responded as follows:

Comments in response to your letter.

Thanks for your response to my request.

I note that my initial request was made 13 July 2018
The NZDF response was made 7 August 2018
My complaint was made 10 August 2018
The OAG notified me that it was 'investigating' 15 October 2018 You then report the NZDF's estimate for its data retrieval time 17 December 2018.

I note I have not been asked whether partially meeting the request would be acceptable. Why is this?
My request is not simply one of idle curiosity or personal use. My intention is to see this data published, not to obtain it.

It has taken OAG three months to obtain an estimate of how long the NZDF thinks it would take to obtain the data.
I estimate it would have taken the NZDF roughly one hour to make up this estimate and reply to OAG. This has then been presented to me as the result of a three month OAG "investigation". I don't think the OAG has actually carried out any investigation. To warrant that term I would like to see some evidence that the OAG has undertaken any effort to validate the NZDF's claim. Please don't make me OIA the OAG on the amount of time it spent on this case.

I would also question whether NZDF has met it's requirements under Section 13 of the Act to provide assistance.
Some of the information may be available in documents not specified in the original request. It appears neither the NZDF nor the OAG
has made any effort to identify any documents (e.g annual budgets) which may contain some of this information.
There is no reason why the request could not be satisfied by making all NZDF budgetary information available under the principal of availability (section 5).
The information is meant to be available unless there is a reason for it not to be. The process outlined by the NZDF assumes that no information
should be available unless it is released by NZDF and that the cost of any extraordinary release is a legitimate reason to ignore its obligations under section 5.
Why are NZDF's historic costs secret by default rather than public by default? Why is this outside the scope of this investigation?

In short it seems that the OAG wants to conveniently abet the NZDF's refusal to provide basic historic accounting information about its costs to the people of New Zealand
purely because anything else would be "too hard".

I am deliberately comparing the NZDF's Section 5 Principle of Availability response to that of other countries.
My hypothesis is that New Zealand citizens are increasingly unable to lawfully obtain information about the costs of basic military functions of their government
and that only information approved by the NZDF is made available to taxpayers through what is essentially its own publications. I have focused on
the military precisely because the transparency of the military is what distinguishes truly democratic nations from authoritarian ones.

That is,ultimately, what you are deciding.


Peter King

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