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Indefensible New Zealand

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New Zealand's national security is rarely discussed in detail outside a small group of government officials and academics. The Indefensible New Zealand podcast is designed to change that with a wide ranging and ongoing conversation that everyone can understand. Free of the constraints of word limits and sound bites, the host, Simon Ewing-Jarvie, presents a fascinating, 'whole of government' view of what needs to be done to keep Kiwis safe - now and in the future. And by future, we mean this series looks out to 2050 and beyond. Many guests will appear on this show - some whose names you'll recognise and others you will never have heard of. Together, they help to bring this important topic to life.


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New Zealand's national security is rarely discussed in detail outside a small group of government officials and academics. The Indefensible New Zealand podcast is designed to change that with a wide ranging and ongoing conversation that everyone can understand. Free of the constraints of word limits and sound bites, the host, Simon Ewing-Jarvie, presents a fascinating, 'whole of government' view of what needs to be done to keep Kiwis safe - now and in the future. And by future, we mean this series looks out to 2050 and beyond. Many guests will appear on this show - some whose names you'll recognise and others you will never have heard of. Together, they help to bring this important topic to life.




S2E1 New Government Old Defence

Welcome to Season 2 of Indefensible New Zealand - the podcast all about New Zealand's national security. In this episode, Dr Simon Ewing-Jarvie discusses the post-election situation for defence. At the time of recording, the new coalition government parties are still negotiating and it is not yet known who will be the Minister of Defence and Veterans.


Indefensible New Zealand National Security Podcast S1E11 - Defending NZ 3 - Insurgency & Resistance

Welcome to the final episode of season 1. This is the third part of our discussion about defending New Zealand against an invading force that is intent on occupying our land. In episode 8, I took a red team view of how New Zealand might be attacked. That was followed in the next two episodes with a long-range defence without the involvement of allies and a discussion about how New Zealand could be made ‘not worth the cost’ of coming too close. Now it’s time to consider the worst case, that our arch enemy, Buranda, has landed forces on our shores. The reasons why New Zealand might be directly and conventionally attacked are many including resources, access to Antarctica and regime change to undermine western alliances. Traditionally, the writers of defence assessments include something in their analysis stating that ‘New Zealand is unlikely to face direct attack.’ This is a very convenient and, quite frankly, lazy way of putting tough decisions in the ‘nothing to see here basket.’ There are a range of possible scenarios but I’ve selected one for the purpose of the podcast. Buranda has established a forward operating base on the Chatham Islands. This began with a commercial joint fishing venture with locals. The development of wharves and airfield was welcomed by Chatham Islanders who had seen little infrastructure investment from New Zealand. The Burandan Investment and Development Bank also built a new school, hotel, fire and police station. It also took a majority shareholding in Air Chathams which saw a fleet of modern mid-sized aircraft and several medium utility helicopters enter service. While there were critics, Buranda had done nothing illegal. They claimed that they were just there to trade. The Burandan Blue Pacific Fishing Company openly supported a range of candidates in the 2025 local body elections. They were all successful. To celebrate the victory, the Republic of Buranda Navy proposed to send a warship to the Chathams to host a party for the Mayor and Council. The New Zealand government declined but the guided missile destroyer RBS Juu Wewe sailed there anyway together with the replenishment ship RBS Siku Za Furaha. There was little that New Zealand could do as the country lacked the capability to even approach the Chathams. Allies encouraged a diplomatic solution. Meanwhile, the Chatham Islands seceded to become an independent administration zone under the Republic of Buranda. A rapid build-up of Burandan military assets quickly followed. When conflict flared soon after in the South China Sea, Buranda made its move. Would New Zealanders really put up a fight or would they allow themselves to be occupied? Hopefully we will never know but it is useful to consider in advance what sort of resistance could realistically be offered. This episode is published on 28 October which is the national commemoration day for the New Zealand Wars. These clashes between Maori and British troops took place in various parts of NZ from the early 1840s to mid 1870s. Right now, most Kiwis know more about overseas wars than those that took place in their own country. There is much to learn in studying them. Just google “New Zealand Wars” to find plenty of resources.


VoterTorque Podcast 2023 - S2E11 - Potential Coalition Combinations

Which combination of parties could potentially form the next New Zealand government? What happens with votes for parties that don't make it into parliament? Overhangs hung parliaments aren't rock climbing terms but also can affect the outcome of the election. And are there any other weird and wonderful parallel universes to explore in this space? Heather Roy and Simon Ewing-Jarvie are out on the town recording at Brewtown in Upper Hutt for this episode. We received a request from Keith Griffiths, ACT's Kaikoura candidate to mention the ACT Party's public meeting with leader David Seymour in Blenheim at the ASB theatre 6-8 pm on Monday 4 September. We are happy to receive similar requests from other parties and candidates but mentioning them isn't an endorsement. Neither of the hosts belong to any political party.


VoterTorque Podcast 2023 - S2E10 - Audience Questions 2

The second batch of audience questions relating to New Zealand's General Election 2023


VoterTorque Podcast 2023 - S2E9 - Campaign Slogans

New Zealand has entered its formal election campaign period. That's always signalled by a proliferation of large and brightly coloured billboards appearing around the country. Heather Roy and Simon Ewing-Jarvie go on a 'field trip' (code for 'sorry about the wind and other background noise') just outside Wellington to check out some of the party campaign slogans. Slogans from past campaigns covered in a recent article on the Spinoff are also included in the mix!!!!!!!!!! Send us in your views about this year's slogans as well as any other political questions you'd like covered in our regular audience Q+A episodes. Use the contents page at our website


VoterTorque Podcast 2023 - S2E8 - GST and Food

With so many parties promising to take Goods and Services Tax (GST) off fruit and vegetables in the lead-up to the New Zealand General Election 2023, Heather Roy and Simon Ewing-Jarvie felt compelled to take a dive into this policy debate. If you can't spare 8 minutes - they think that it's a bad idea. But there is at least one bad Dad joke in there - maybe two! And Damien Grant gets a mention so if you like his writing - you should subscribe to this podcast. Send in your questions for this podcast via the contacts page at


VoterTorque Podcast 2023 S2E7 - National Security and Defence Government Announcements

In the last week, the New Zealand government has released three documents relating to national security: Aotearoa’s National Security Strategy: Secure Together Tō Tātou Korowai Manaaki Defence Policy and Strategy Statement Future Force Design Principles These were preceded by a public consultation exercise, a long-term insights briefing and a foreign policy assessment In the coming week, we expect the release of an updated threat assessment. Since Defence Minister Andrew Little’s announcements last week, there has been at least a dozen stories a day ranging from the importance of New Zealand’s ‘first ever’ national security strategy, to an upcoming major cash injection into defence and a complete sell-out to foreign interests – notably those of the USA. Never in the field of Kiwi conflict have so many words been written on behalf of so many people by so few and for so little effect. It’s not all bad. The fact that there is a document that says “National Security Strategy” means we now have a document to debate and improve. The acknowledgement that the public must be taken into the conversation is long overdue – as long as it happens. The written acknowledgement that greater investment in defence is required is very significant. I know you can hear the whistling of an incoming “BUT…” A strategy it is not. It is what academics would call a ‘meta-policy.’ By its own admission it sits over the country’s: A strategy is contested. Its success can be measured. This is a policy dressed in strategy clothes. The best thing to potentially come out of this process is the creation of a National Intelligence and Security Agency. But that is not explicitly written only talked about. The Defence Policy and Strategy Statement is little more than a re-hash of earlier documents such as the 2021 Assessment which followed Ron Mark’s ‘shell game’ that produced the 2018 Strategic Defence Policy Review and the 2019 Defence Capability Plan. These exercises in political pilates only stretch out acquisition times for new capabilities. Then there are the Future Force Design Principles which “acts as a bridge between the high-level policy and strategy in the Defence Policy and Strategy Statement 2023 and detailed investment planning that will be included in a Defence Capability Plan.” – The latter document will be sometime next year. Only then will an acquisition process be initiated. When you take out the pictures and the fluff, there’s 1800 words on 5 pages wrapped around 11 principles. Three of these are ‘fixed’ and eight are ‘sliding principles.’ Simon Ewing-Jarvie and Heather Roy discuss these documents and what they mean for New Zealand's national security.


VoterTorque Podcast 2023 S2E6 - Issues

Heather Roy and Simon Ewing-Jarvie discuss current political issues that are front of mind for voters. These range from the economy and cost of living to crime and co-governance. Issues episodes will recur throughout the season so send in your ideas or questions for discussion. You can send in questions for the podcast hosts through the ⁠contacts page at⁠ You can read more about what each of the hosts is writing about and also support this work at the following sites: ⁠⁠Heather's Political Blog⁠⁠ ⁠⁠Simon's National Security Blog⁠⁠ ⁠⁠Simon's Patreon Page⁠⁠ ⁠⁠Buy Simon a Coffee


VoterTorque Podcast 2023 S2E5 - Audience Questions 1

Heather Roy and Simon Ewing-Jarvie answer questions from the VoterTorque audience. In this episode the questions addressed are: 1. What does TOP stand for? 2. Will Winston Peters get back into parliament? 3. What is an overhang? 4. What is meant by hard right and hard left? Questions and answers will be published approximately every 5th episode. You can send in questions for the podcast hosts through the contacts page at You can read more about what each of the hosts is writing about and also support this work at the following sites: ⁠Heather's Political Blog⁠ ⁠Simon's National Security Blog⁠ ⁠Simon's Patreon Page⁠ ⁠Buy Simon a Coffee


VoterTorque Podcast 2023 S2E4 - NZ Political Polls

Do political polls reflect or shape public opinion in New Zealand? With an election due on 14 October, this is an important question that is discussed by Heather Roy and Simon Ewing-Jarvie. What's important are the trends and other questions like whether people think the country is headed in the right or wrong direction. You can read more about what each of them is writing about and also support this work at the following sites: Heather's Political Blog Simon's National Security Blog Simon's Patreon Page Buy Simon a Coffee


VoterTorque Podcast 2023 S2 E3 - The Political Compass Quiz

Simon Ewing-Jarvie and Heather Roy take the audience through the TorquePoint version of the political compass quiz. This episode links with S2E2 podcast and describes how you can use a simple questionnaire to determine where you lie on the political spectrum. This is useful for working out which parties and policies you are most closely aligned with. A pdf version of TorquePoint's political compass can be downloaded for free from their website at You can read more about what each of the hosts is writing about and also support this work at the following sites: ⁠Heather's Political Blog⁠ ⁠Simon's National Security Blog⁠ ⁠Simon's Patreon Page⁠ ⁠Buy Simon a Coffee


VoterTorque 2023 - New Zealand Politics Podcast (Trailer)

Welcome to season 2 of VoterTorque. This season begins in June 2023 just over three months out from the New Zealand general election. Join Heather Roy and Simon Ewing-Jarvie as they discuss in plain english the parties, policies, promises and polls that will play a part in your decision on who to vote for on 14 October.


VoterTorque Podcast 2023 : S2E2 The New Zealand Political Spectrum

Former ACT Deputy Leader and Government Minister, Heather Roy, and TorquePoint CDO Simon Ewing-Jarvie update their political spectrum for the 2023 New Zealand General Election. The series is also available as a slideshow on YouTube. It examines the merits of commentators and journalists referring to parties and politicians as simply left or right. More information is available at


VoterTorque Podcast 2023 S2E1 - Introduction to the New Season

Simon Ewing-Jarvie and Heather Roy from TorquePoint are back for the run up to New Zealand's 2023 General Election to bring you their analysis of each of the political parties, what they're offering and how they compare. This introductory episode outline the main points to be covered. If you're a newcomer or a political junkie, why not listen to the 22 episodes from Season 1 in 2020 as well?


Defending New Zealand #2 - The Prickly Kiwi

In the second part of 'Defending New Zealand', I discuss how the country might configure itself to deal with an invading force that has the intention of putting boots on the ground. This discussion touches on overt kinetic attacks such as missiles, rockets and bombs, digital attack and covert (fifth column or enemy SOF) attacks on military and civil infrastructure. New Zealand's need for self-reliance in manufacturing the materiel needed to defend itself is premised on the potential for an air/sea blockade. To be safe, the country needs to be able to out-range any force attempting to approach and make the price of such an approach too high to pay. In order to do this, New Zealand needs to intensively develop its missile capability (including warheads and fuel), harness existing space capability and grow it along with massive investment in un-crewed systems in all domains. New Zealand must strive for at least parity in the cyber battlespace, harden its command and control systems and push for excellence in targetting. In effect, the biggest mistake that New Zealand could make is to prepare and configure for wars being fought now. It must develop a uniquely New Zealand strategy for a war that the world has not yet seen except in movies. New Zealand must become the 'Prickly Kiwi' that everyone acknowledges is too hard to attack.


Defending New Zealand 1 - Armed Neutral and Long Range

This is the first episode in a series that discusses New Zealand's defence needs and a brief insight into current shortfalls. While acknowledging that the people within the current New Zealand Defence Force are as good or better than those who have gone before, Simon Ewing-Jarvie bluntly points out that, in a war of commitment such as the defence of the country, the NZDF would cease to be a functional fighting force in a matter of hours without allied assistance. This episode discusses long range requirements. The model that this series is premised on is the author's own. Establishing the national security requirements as an armed neutral state then subtracting current capabilities derives the GROSS National Security Deficit. By then factoring in the capabilities that can be relied upon from allies leaves the NET National Security Deficit. It is acknowledged that this will vary between risk scenarios. To succeed, New Zealand's defensive posture must be based on an interlocking set of principles: Importantly, these discussions are about defending all 6 million New Zealanders (7 million by 2050) which includes the 1 million currently living overseas - rather than the continental defence of the country.


Attacking New Zealand - A Red Team View

A notional red team of industry experts (from 'Buranda'), takes on the challenge of attacking New Zealand with the objective of bringing down the Government and bringing in a system that is more open to its aims and views. No invasion or occupation is involved in this scenario which focuses instead on targetting the essentials of life and creating division between various sectors of society. Nothing is out of scope in this brief outline which addresses politics (including a fifth column element) fuel, energy, water, food, health, ports and shipping, submarine cables, cyber warfare, space and satellites as well as aviation. The attack scenario sets up an 'us and them' situation between the North and South Island as well as seeking to fracture relations with South Pacific neighbours. All this occurs while New Zealand's friends are decisively engaged elsewhere.


National Security Posture or Pose?

The focus of this episode is national security posture options for New Zealand. Simon Ewing-Jarvie and Heather Roy discuss four options: 1. Maintaining armed alignment with traditional allies and partners 2. Seeking new treaties, allies and partners more closely aligned to protecting our current economic interests 3. Adopting a strategy of armed non-alignment 4. Armed neutrality The hosts discuss the risks and gains of each option; highlighting the usefulness of assessing these in a red team exercise, war game or simulation. Audience members who wish to delve deeper into this topic are invited to read the article 'Divergent Options' at or search for the host's publication on the topic at Another recommended work is by Dr Reuben Steff in the New Zealand National Security Journal titled "The Biden Administration and New Zealand's Strategic Options: Asymmetric Hedging, Tight Five Eyes Alignment and Armed Neutrality."


Like Some Law With That?

The host, Simon Ewing-Jarvie, takes a high level pass over several pieces of New Zealand legislation that either need amendment or should be created in order to improve the country's national security legislative framework. The discussion includes the raising of a National Security Agency and National Security Impact Statements for all new Bills as well as better use of existing legislation - such as S50A of the Defence Act declaring Situations of National Interest. The latter, the host argues, should automatically trigger qualifying operational service, veteran status and medallic recognition. The definition of exactly who is a veteran is noted, as is the subject of a National Emergency Medal. This episode also traverses the need for an Armed Forces Covenant Act to legislate the social contract between the state and those that put their lives at risk in its protection. It also introduces the idea of a NZ War Graves Commission , improvements to the Volunteers' Employment Protection Act and a new Voluntary National Service Scheme.


What's Taking So Long?

Simon Ewing-Jarvie discusses why it is taking so long to establish a national security agency and strategy, given that the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch masjidain on 15 March 2019 recommended exactly this approach in late 2020. He draws on his work in continuity management and executive behaviour in risky environments to highlight some possible reasons why public sector chief executives might be reluctant to embrace the sort of change that is being called for. Simon also highlights the politicisation of Defence and calls for Defence White papers to be replaced with National Security White papers.