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National security


New Zealand takes an “all hazards – all risks” approach to national security to ensure the safety and security of New Zealanders.

One of the most important responsibilities of any government is to ensure the security and territorial integrity of the nation, including protecting the institutions that sustain confidence, good governance, and prosperity.

For this to happen, a government requires resilient national security machinery – which is well led, strategically focused, coordinated, cost-effective, accountable, geared to risk management, and responsive to any challenges that arise.

What is national security?

National security is the condition which permits the citizens of a state to go about their daily business confidently free from fear and able to make the most of opportunities to advance their way of life. It encompasses the preparedness, protection and preservation of people, and of property and information, both tangible and intangible.

Defining national security in legislation

For information about the definition of national security as it relates to the New Zealand Intelligence and Security Act 2017, visit the "Defining national security" page.

New Zealand's approach to national security

New Zealand takes an "all hazards - all risks" approach to national security to ensure the safety and security of New Zealanders.

Our approach acknowledges New Zealand’s exposure to a variety of hazards as well as traditional security threats, any of which could significantly disrupt the conditions required for a secure and prosperous nation.

DPMC's role in national security is to:

  • scan for domestic and external risks
  • assess domestic and external risks of national security significance
  • coordinate policy advice to ensure that risks and incidents are managed appropriately, and
  • coordinate government action to deal with national security risks and incidents. This can include coordinating across lead agencies when multiple events are occurring at the same time.

The Chief Executive of DPMC is New Zealand’s lead official for national security. They are supported by the Deputy Chief Executive, National Security Group, who leads and coordinates the national security system in its practical application.

Last updated: 
Friday, 18 September 2020

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