Security within the Asia-Pacific region is increasingly complex. As with the rest of the world, terrorism has become a persistent threat.

Security within the Pacific 

The Pacific faces a number of security challenges that, as part of the region, face New Zealand as well. For that reason, security is a core component of our relationships in the Pacific. Challenges include transboundary security threats, including climate change, transnational crime, and cybercrime.

In 2018, Pacific Islands Forum Leaders agreed a new declaration, the Boe Declaration on Regional Security (external link), which responds to a more complex environment with an expanded concept of security, and calls for closer coordination in the Pacific region. This, along with the Pacific Islands Forum’s Framework for Pacific Regionalism, guides our engagement on security issues.

New Zealand actively supports wider regional security organisations including the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police, the Oceania Customs Organisation, and the Pacific Immigration Development Community. These organisations enable discussion, information sharing, and coordinated training, and are integral to addressing shared security threats. 

New Zealand agencies – such as Police, Customs, and Immigration – work closely with their Pacific counterparts to strengthen border security. New Zealand’s Transnational Crime Unit works closely with the Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Centre in Apia, and supports Pacific Transnational Crime Units in Tonga, Cook Islands, and Niue. New Zealand Police and Customs work with Police and customs in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands on the Pacific Detector Dog Programme

New Zealand also provides monitoring, control and surveillance support that helps Pacific countries to protect their fisheries from illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.

New Zealand has also been a significant contributor to the Bougainville peace process and to the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI (external link)).

Pacific Security Fund

We also administer the Pacific Security Fund (NZD$2.7 million each year), which is used by New Zealand agencies to support Pacific countries. The initiatives we fund include ethical leadership training delivered through the New Zealand Defence Force, improving aviation security capability and providing equipment, and helping Pacific countries to comply with international maritime codes and regulations.

For more information on the PSF, including the application process, please contact us on psf@mfat.govt.nz.

Security within Asia

We have long-standing defence ties with many Asian countries and security issues are an area of focus in our work with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Trans-national crime including people smuggling, drug trafficking, cyber crime and maritime piracy are significant security challenges in Asia. There's a growing threat from radicalisation with foreign terrorist fighters returning home from other regions such as the Middle East, and maritime and territorial disputes have the potential to cause instability in the region.

Read about about countering:

What's New Zealand doing?

Regional security issues require a regional response - we work with ASEAN and other Asia-Pacific countries to address common security challenges together.

Pacific Islands Forum and security

  • We’re a member of the Forum’s Regional Security Committee (FRSC). This is the main regional meeting on political security and governance issues. Committee members meet annually to discuss regional security issues, improve coordination between countries, and identify priority areas for their own law enforcement agencies
  • As a member of the FRSC, we’ve convened the Pacific Islands Forum Working Group on Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime since 2005

ASEAN and security

  • We're a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum which fosters constructive dialogue on political and security issues and build cooperative ties in the region. Forum members include all ASEAN members as well as Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, South Korea, the European Union, India, Japan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste and the US. 
  • We're also a member of the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM Plus) which serves to strengthen security and defence cooperation amongst its members for peace, stability, and development in the region. In 2010, the Defence Ministers agreed to focus on five key areas: maritime security, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster management, peacekeeping operations and military medicine. Members include the ADMM (ASEAN states) plus Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russian Federation and the US. 

Read more about our work with ASEAN

Policing

  • We work with regional law enforcement agencies such as the South Pacific Chiefs of Police Conference, Oceania Customs Organisation and the Pacific Immigration Directors Conference
  • We respond with various aid programmes to build the law enforcement capacity of our Pacific Island neighbours, such as the Partnership for Policing initiative. This involves New Zealand Police training and mentoring officers from the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tuvalu and Vanuatu

People smuggling

  • We belong to the Bali Process, a regional multilateral forum chaired by Australia and Indonesia, which aims to counter people smuggling through regional cooperation

Read more about our involvement with the Bali Process