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NZDIA: Looking back with satisfaction and looking forward with anticipation

Line of Defence Magazine, Summer 2017/18

The NZDIA Annual Forum in Wellington was one event success of many during 2017.The NZDIA Annual Forum in Wellington was one event success of many during 2017.


The New Zealand Defence Industry Association’s new Chair, Andrew Ford, looks back over a successful and paradigm-shifting year, providing insight into how the NZSA will deliver increased value to its members within New Zealand’s national security sector in 2018.


NZDIA is in great shape to tackle 2018 and all the opportunities that are beckoning for industry and in particular, our members. With a new Board, New Chair, new Rule Book and the same – and still improving – strong collaborative relationships with MOD and NZDF, NZDIA is prepared for a new year, a new Government and new opportunities to contribute to New Zealand’s economic development.

Having cemented in 2016 a clear vision for NZDIA and a strategy to get there, 2017 was the year to start delivering. The year saw a rapid increase in activity and new opportunities for members to get closer to Defence.

In July, for example, we saw the first member-only Wellington NZDIA-Defence Executive lunch, with special guests including the Secretary and CDF. The environment of a sit-down lunch facilitated some deeper discussions and engagements on a smaller group basis, and provided a good contrast to the normal member meetings.

The Minister’s Parliamentary Reception in August boasted a record turn-out from Industry and Parliament, with many retiring Ministers and MPs popping in during the evening.

In December, NZDIA hosted the first-ever Australian Department of Defence (ADOD) Naval Shipbuilding Industry Briefing in New Zealand. This opportunity arose out of discussions and advocacy during the year and then at Pacific 2017, which led to NZDIA Forum guest speaker slots and to this important opportunity for New Zealand industry to share in the economic prosperity being offered to industry in Australia.

Next year, we will be looking to repeat these successful events of 2017, with new base visits in 2018 to Devonport and to an army base, opportunities to meet the new Ministers and in time the new Secretary of Defence.

As a result of the ADOD Shipbuilding Briefing, we hope to host more briefings for other capabilities, as well as a series of training programmes in conjunction with NZTE to assist more suppliers from New Zealand Industry to be ADOD supply chain ready.  


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The Annual Forum will be in Wellington again in 2018, but we are looking at new exciting venues and targeting the last week of October. Watch this space and contact with enquiries about sponsorship and exhibiting – before we come to you!

The 2016 Defence White Paper positioned the new Whole of Government Approach to New Zealand’s Security. This has been an important touchstone during 2017, as NZDIA has moved to increase its knowledge and influence into these other parts of the national security ecosystem and whole-of-government approach.

With speakers from many of these fields engaged at Member Meetings during the year, and more presenting at the 2017 Forum, we are seeing the benefits to MOD, NZDF and our members of great collaboration and connections that come from having NZDIA playing a role in joining the dots within NZ, and out into the World.

Jennie Vickers our CEO has been in the role for just seven months, but we can already see the benefits of the NZDIA Board’s decision to focus on professionalising the organisation and increasing its profile and role. The team will be back in 2018 connecting our members locally and globally with the right calibre of collaborative agencies and partners.

Final words go to thank recently retired NZDIA Board members Scott Arrell (Chair) and Steve Gill, both of whom deserve recognition for the substantial time given over a number of years in moving the organisation forward. 


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