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The New Zealand Government’s responsibility for national security involves balancing many competing interests, including short-term and long-term, domestic and external, public and private, and financial and non-financial. To help the Government strike an appropriate balance between these various interests, the following principles are observed:

  • The National Security System should address all significant risks to New Zealanders and the nation, so that people can live confidently and have opportunities to advance their way of life;
  • National security goals should be pursued in an accountable way, which meets the Government’s responsibility to protect New Zealand, its people, and its interests, while respecting civil liberties and the rule of law;
  • New Zealand should strive to maintain independent control of its own security, while acknowledging that it also benefits from norms of international law and state behaviour which are consistent with our values, global and regional stability, and the support and goodwill of our partners and friends.
  • Decisions should be taken at the lowest appropriate level, with coordination at the highest necessary level. Ordinarily those closest to the risk are best able to manage it;

For more information download the National Security System Handbook (PDF, 1.11 MB)