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The Contender
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New Zealand should abolish their defence force

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/23/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,904 times Debate No: 21412
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)




In case you're wondering, yes, I am reposting this challenge. In the other debate I suspect my opponent of not wanting to continue to debate - he only went on the site for a couple of minutes, accepted my challenge, and hasn't been seen or heard from since. Therefore, I'd like to offer the oppertunity to any other debater who dares to challenge me on this topic!

Thanks to everybody who reads this debate. I know the topic is a bit strange. Nevertheless, I hope that whoever takes this will be willing to actually have a serious discussion about it. That means: do not take this debate unless you're going to finish all the rounds, and do not take this debate to troll it.

To clarify the motion, "New Zealand" refers to the New Zealand Government, and the defence force refers to the New Zealand Defence Force - including the Royal New Zealand Navy, the New Zealand Army, and the Royal New Zealand Air Force, but not the New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management. Abolition would be a process that would happen gradually over the course of a few years, as military assets are sold and so forth. Otherwise all words in the motion have their usual dictionary meaning.

Being a citizen of New Zealand I recognise that I may have a unfair advantage in this debate, so my opponent may go first (if they choose) and gain the benefit of an extra round. You'll have 8000 characters to make your case every round, and 72 hours to post them. You may even go on my other debate on this topic to see what sort of case I'll probably run.

Good luck!


They should definetely NOT abolih their defense forces. I mean anything could happen. The U.S. are just big mean bullies of the south pacific. If I was New Zealand I would be trying anything to protect myself from the U.S. The U.S. is going to go crazy if anything happens to them so New Zealand should definetely not abolish their defense forces.

P.S. Australia isn't very nice either
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for opening his case. I'll address it in just a moment.

Let's start with some background. The New Zealand army is essentially nothing more than 4,500 light infantry, with a small number of support vehicles, 2000 reserves (most of whom are currently in college), and about 500 civilians. Their main weaponry is about 105 NZLAV tanks and a variety of light machine guns. Very few in the New Zealand army wear any armor. The New Zealand navy is twelve ships, only two of which have any fighting capability (both of them frigates). One of those two is currently broken down ( leaving just one ship to defend New Zealand from attack. The airforce has about 62 aircraft - 5 Kaman Seasprites (helicopters) being the only weaponised planes, although there are also 6 Lockheed Orions that could be weaponised. Anybody who knows anything about the military can see that such a force would take five minutes to be destroyed by any major nation in the world. Take the Australian defence force for comparison. They have 59,023 active personnel, with 257 ASLAVs and 51 M1A1 Abrams AIMs. Their navy has 12 fighting ships and 6 submarines. Their air force has 95 active combat aircraft, being Hornets and Super Hornets. Australia is not an atypical defence force. It's just that New Zealand's defence force sucks. (All these facts are from the respective Wikipedia articles, by the way - I don't have space to source them all individually)




--LAV tanks



AIM tanks



Army personnel



Combat ships



Combat aircraft



That's about as clear as it gets - our defence force sucks compared to other developed nations.

My question is: why are we spending millions ( on the maintainance of a defence force that cannot defend us?

If we accept that the New Zealand defence force sucks, we are left with two options. Either we can increase defence expenditure, and become a modern militarised society, or we could abolish the military and become a modern pacifist society. I contend that only option two is sensible.

Firstly, New Zealand is a nation with economic challenges. We were actually once the richest nation in the world, per capita. Now that title has long been taken from us. Spending all this money does nothing to help our economy. It gets stuck in assets, as we funnel our hard-earned dollars overseas to fund foreign weapon manufacturers (we don't have any weapons industry, nor the raw materials to build weapons). On top of just our effort to get our economy back on track, we had a big earthquake recently that you might have heard about. Our economy cannot suffer a massive increase in defence spending.

Secondly, other nations, and our own people, would resent our militarisation. It's the same thing as with Iran - other countries will mistrust our intentions if we build up a big army, navy and air force. But who would hate us if we chose to be peaceful? If the 200 or so New Zealanders pull out of Afghanistan, that won't mean the Americans won't win there. If our middling force pulls out of East Timor, that won't mean the Australians can't do their job there. New Zealand has a long history of Nonviolence. We threw out nuclear weapons and American ships, on the basis that we don't want to be militarised. The US were temporarily annoyed, but the rest of the world looked up to us for that. But it's a double standard to claim that we don't want to be militarised and yet we maintain a military. Domestic support for a larger military is very low right now, as is demonstrated by our recent election, where the warmongering "Act" party that believes in spending more on military recieved only about 1% of the vote.

Thirdly, the pacifist route would free up much beautiful land for national parks. For some silly reason the military bases are all in pristine locations with beautiful natural features, such as in the central plateau, or the high country of the south island. Much of "The Lord of the Rings" was filmed on military land. Our strongest industry is tourism. There's no better way to boost that than abolishing the military.

Fourth, New Zealand could engage more effectively in international diplomacy. There can be no question that diplomacy is better than war, and New Zealand are kind-of everybody's second best friends, making them very well-placed to take this path in international politics. That is undermined when we have a big army - countries will want us to pick sides. We have to take a more active role in fighting other countrys' wars, and that's bad for because it means we can't be do neutral negotiation, only fighting. It also means that even as we prop up our national security with money, we anger others giving them a reason to go to war with us.

Fifth, we face no current or long-term threat. There is virtually no chance of anybody wanting to attack New Zealand, so why prepare for a war we will never fight? Not since the New Zealand Land Wars, a civil war of about 150 years ago, has New Zealand been attacked. Our war memorials are not full of people who have died defending New Zealand - they have mostly died attacking Turkey at Gallipoli, or fighting in France in World War two, or helping the United States in Vietnam and so forth. The New Zealand Defence Force has never defended New Zealand, and in the forseeable future, will not defend New Zealand even if they become competitive.

Con says the US wants to attack us. If they sent even 1% of their atom bombs over here we're all dead, so clearly we're not at war. The fact is that New Zealand is a major ally to the US ( and Australia ( Why militarise against our allies?

Sixth, the military has a huge human and environmental toll. Even in times of peace, soldiers who deal with dangerous weapons often die from random malfunctions in the equipment, or mines that they forgot to disarm during military exercises, and so forth. People die in the army much faster than elsewhere, even if the army is not at war. Besides that, the military hurts our pristine environment. It can't be good for our endangered Kiwi birds if all manner of weapons are being blasted in their home environment. As well as hurting conservation, it fuels climate change, destroys possible tourism cash cows, and pollutes our land, water and air.

Seventh, it means the military could hold our government to ransom. Don't let New Zealand be the latest in the series of military coups we've seen around the pacific. It's no secret that the nations with the world's biggest militaries also have governments that are friendly to the military all the time, even if those nations claim to be "democratic." The military generally supports things like human rights violations and genocides. Every human rights violation or genocide of the last thousand years or so was carried out by a military force.

Eigth, it means we have veterans. Don't get me wrong - I still want to support and thank existing veterans for their service. But no young lad should be subjected to the psychological horrors that the military alone provides. Being in the military has been linked to several mental issues later in life, besides the immediate and long-term physical harms of weapons exposure. The effect of this is that countries with more military spending typically have a higher crime rate - and if not, that's almost always because it's the military committing the crimes. The correlation is 99.6% strong among industralised nations such as New Zealand (

For these reasons I concur with the 1994 Human Development Report by the UN, which stated nations should provide"security of people through development, not arms; through cooperation, not confrontation; through peace not war."


Okay I am just going to post rebuttals to all your arguments.

1. Your economic situation is entirely your fault. You can also create your own weapon manufacturing business too. It'll help the unemployment rate of 6.3% and help your military situation at the same time.

2. I wouldn't exactly call it militarisation. It's more like preparing for inevitable war. Any historian that you ask will tell you that there has been a constant cycle of war. It also stays in sync with economical cycles. Throughout history wars come when a leader takes control of a country in turmoil by using promises of economical greatness. Leaders however tend to abuse their powers. Southeastern Asia is not a very politcally stable area and if an economic downturn happens and a new leader takes control of a country like indonesia. With war inevitable, I don't see why you wouldn't want to become more interested in getting a larger military

3. I agree that New Zealand is an awesome and beautiful country, but your argument has an easy solution. Just move the military and restore the nature that was once there. I don't think that poses much of a problem.

4. Yes I do agree that New Zealand is sort of considered a good acquaintance to many countries around the world. But that is not an excuse for not having a respectable military. Bottom line, New Zealand's military absolutely sucks. They have to be able to at least stall a good military that would invade them, for at least a week or two so one of their friends can save them. Right now, if a good military attacked you, the entire country would be steamrolled in three days. And you wouldn't be militarising against anyone it would just be an absolutely reasonable precautionary measure.

5. Things can change in a few days. I wouldn't count on being safe from the countries near you even though they haven't posed any threat in quite a long time.

6. The military doesn't have to be where your pristine environments are. They can just be somewhere where there aren't any dangers to the environment. It won't take a human toll either because they could just make a national guard where people receive a month or two of training then be on standby where they can be called upon whenever they are needed.

7. Yes there is a small risk of a military coup. However other countries with much larger militarys than New Zealand have managed to stay politically stable for a long time. My example, Australia. You gave the stats earlier in the debate on how much larger Australia's military is than New Zealand's and they have been politically and militarily stable since World War Two when Japan threatened to invade Australia but didn't end up doing it.

8. Being killed because you don't have a military is worse than having nightmares. I would rather have only a few people with bad memories than a million dead.

And with your quote, the U.N. doesn't seem to accept that there is always going to be corrupt countries that are going to start a war. No matter how much they stress peace and not war they aren't going to get everyone to agree and have a peaceful world. Even though I like having peace and not war, that's not an excuse for not being prepared to fight if one of these corrupt countries initiates war.

Debate Round No. 2


I thank my opponent for his excellent rebuttals. Like him I will go through the arguments again as I have numbered them.

1. Economy
Con asserts that our situation is entirely our fault, like we prayed to some God that our city of Christchurch would crumble in an earthquake and wallow in liquifaction. Us no longer being the top dogs is because what made us rich is our agriculture industry, and then some industrialists like con came along and told us to build factories. There's almost an exact correlation between us trying to build a secondary industry and us falling behind. Thankfully now we're reinventing ourselves in the tertiary sector. Don't go back to a failed policy!
Con says it will help unemployment. Wrong. If we raise taxes to fund the military spending (which we will have to do), businesses across the board are forced to take on less staff. At best it will do nothing for our unemployment. Some models predict it will create an employment disaster, as the military isn't exactly a mobile alternative job for war-concious people.
Finally con says we can manufacture weapons. As I've stated, we don't have the natural resources here.

2. Resentment
My opponent doesn't really rebut resentment within New Zealand, only internationally. Never mind.
Even if there is a cycle of war, New Zealand isn't part of it. Nobody attacks us, and nobody will looking ahead. We don't have leaders abusing their power here, largely because our leaders have incredibly ill-defined powers, and tend to get over-ruled by other leaders who thought they controlled the country if they do anything incredibly silly (which is rare, but it has happened). In fact, we had a leader who did exactly what you described - prime minister Roger Muldoon - but another one of our leaders (the governor-general) literally got him drunk and suggested he step down immediately, and that was the end of that. We can much more effectively help the global cycle of war be less inevitable by not sending our troops to fight in global wars, but rather negotiating to end them.

3. Beautiful land
Move the military? To where? We don't really have a spare desert or anything nobody would mind being blown up.

4. Better diplomacy
Glad we agree our military sucks. But be able to stall an invasion? From who? And a precaution against what? And how will this help diplomacy? The sort of rhetoric my opponent uses is not uncommon, but always vague and non-specific. I fear any nation arming for war against an invasion that will not happen. Con tryed to tell you the US or Australia will attack us. If they did, you can be assured we will have no allies to call on. And we're supposed to stall them for weeks? Egypt had a massive military and lots of allies before the six-day war. How well did that policy work for them?

5. No threat
My opponent notes that things can change. I agree. But should the government spend millions on something that will almost certainly never happen? There is literally no justification for a war against us. It's much harder to invent one when we are active in international diplomacy. That's why the Tamils fared so poorly - they never took their concerns to other nations friendly to their cause, and they never talked. They just prepared for war. There is a very strong justification for attack if we militarise, however - we are a threat. If we're not a threat, it makes no sense to spend millions eliminating us. That's why Iran has all those sanctions now - people think they are a threat.

6. Human/environmental toll
There are no locations in New Zealand that do not have air, water or land to pollute, no to mention wildlife. Actually the LEAST environmentally dangerous location we own is a part of Antarctica, although that's protected by the Antarctic treaty. Besides that, there are penguins that might not like it, ice that might be polluted, and a ozone gap that might make use of it.
In addition, there is also the cost in human lives of being in the army, which my opponent completely ignores.

7. Military coup
Sure, some countries have remained stable, others have not. I agree. But why should we spend so much money on such a gamble? Wouldn't it be better to spend no money and have no chance of a military coup?

8. Veterans
My opponent presupposes we will be attacked to rebut this point. I disagree that this is a valid presumption for the reasons stated earlier. I don't want a crime-filled nation which I have to spend lots of taxes to maintain, that provides security against a threat nobody can define to me.

The reason we don't have so much peace in the world is because no nation is willing to demilitarise and fight for it. I say it's time for somebody to take a stand! New Zealand has led the world in many ways before, and we're proud of that. Our nonviolent resistance at Parihaka was one of Ghandi's inspirations. Today, we can prepare for war, and that will inevitably lead us to war. Those who live by the sword die by the sword. Let us live in peace. Let us abolish the military.


Llama23 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Con has had his account deactivated. Please vote pro.


Llama23 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by larztheloser 6 years ago
Agreed. That's why it needs to be abolished - there's no point in having a defense force that can't defend us!
Posted by OberHerr 6 years ago
If the US did go "crazy" as you say, and for some bizarre reason attack New Zealand, your defense force would not be much of an issue. Trust me.
Posted by larztheloser 6 years ago
Lol (hardcore republicans amuse me) - the whole earthquake thing wasn't really directly related, I was just trying to point out the fact that you didn't talk about it in there somewhere. Sorry about that. My main point was that building stuff (like weapons) tends to be something we're not very good at, which is why we failed at it in the early 80s. Never mind. I think the main economic point that I wanted to make is that we don't have the money to maintain a good military, even if we wanted one, and we taxed the people like never before.
Posted by LlamaMan 6 years ago
P.S. You totally sound like a U.S. Republican in your rebuttal to my statement that the economic situation was your fault. 'It was the earthquake!!'
Posted by larztheloser 6 years ago
No problem Llama, thanks for the discussion we did manage to have.
Posted by LlamaMan 6 years ago
I just tried to log in to my account and it says that my account has been deactivated so sorry but I sort of can't finish the debate....
Posted by Llama23 6 years ago
Posted by overmind25 6 years ago
Bring back the Empire!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by royalpaladin 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit