Defence Act 1990

If you need more information about this Act, please contact the administering agency: Ministry of Defence

Version as at 1 December 2022

Coat of Arms of New Zealand

Defence Act 1990

Public Act
1990 No 28
Date of assent
1 April 1990
see section 1(2)

The Parliamentary Counsel Office has made editorial and format changes to this version using the powers under subpart 2 of Part 3 of the Legislation Act 2019.

Note 4 at the end of this version provides a list of the amendments included in it.

This Act is administered by the Ministry of Defence.


1Short Title and commencement
3Act to bind the Crown
4Application of Act
5Power to raise armed forces
6Further powers of Governor-General
7Power of Minister of Defence
8Chief of Defence Force
9Use of Armed Forces to provide public service or assist civil power
10Powers of requisition
11Constitution of Defence Force
12Joint forces
13Members of regular forces
14Members of Civil Staff [Repealed]
15Members of territorial forces
16Members of reserve forces
17Relative ranks
18Attachment of members of one Service to another Service
19Circumstances in which members of one Service are deemed attached to another Service
20Modification of Acts for members of one Service attached or deemed attached to another Service
21Transfer of members of one Service to another Service
22Transfer for employment with other forces
23Attachment of members of New Zealand Armed Forces to other armed forces
23AAttachment of members of other armed forces to New Zealand Armed Forces
23BMutual powers of command when forces acting together
24Secretary of Defence
25Chief of Defence Force
26Chief of Defence Force may be relieved of particular responsibilities in time of war or other like emergency
27Defence Force Orders
27AApplication of Legislation Act 2019 to Defence Force Orders
28Chiefs of Service
29Chiefs of Service Committee
30Delegation of functions, duties, and powers
31Consultation between Secretary of Defence and Chief of Defence Force
32Appointment, promotion, and discharge of officers
33Appointment, enlistment, and engagement
33AAge requirements
34Oath of allegiance
35Effect of oath of allegiance
36Enlistment of minors
37Liability of minors for active service
38Liability for and duration of service in regular forces
39Liability for service in territorial forces
40Liability for service in reserve forces
41Further provisions relating to Proclamations
42Protection of employment when Proclamation made
43Discretion to waive or postpone requirement for continuous service
44Active service
45Conditions of service in Armed Forces
46Regulations fixing certain terms and conditions of service
47Defence Force Orders fixing certain terms and conditions of service [Repealed]
48Determinations and regulations to be notified in Defence Force Orders [Repealed]
49Redress of complaints
50Special service
50APower to declare situation of national interest in relation to special service
50BProtection of employment when situation of national interest declared
51Persons receiving pay but not properly attested
52Members may give notice of intention to leave regular forces
53Return of service obligation
54State of critical manning
55Notice while serving overseas, etc
56Discretion to relax requirements
57Notice while subject to disciplinary proceedings, etc
57AMembers may be discharged or released for incompatible behaviour
58Unit and other non-public funds
59General principles
60Code of conduct
61Equal employment opportunities
61AAppointment of members of Civil Staff
62Appointments on merit
63Obligation to notify vacancies
64Acting appointments
65Evidence of appointments
66Obligation to notify appointments
67Review of appointments
68Power to transfer members within Civil Staff
69Application to Civil Staff of Employment Relations Act 2000
70Negotiation of conditions of employment
71Personal grievances and disputes
72Compulsory arbitration and agreement not to strike or lock out [Repealed]
73Contravention of agreement not to strike or lock out [Repealed]
73BChief of Defence Force may establish superannuation schemes for members of Defence Force
73CRequirements in respect of superannuation schemes for members of Defence Force
73DChief of Defence Force to obtain confirmation from Government Actuary that scheme meets requirements of this Act [Repealed]
73EContributions to superannuation schemes
73FChief of Defence Force may establish compulsory scheme for members of Armed Forces
74Constitution of cadet forces
75Personnel of cadet forces
76Cadet officers
77Functions of cadet forces
78Assistance to cadet forces
79Member of cadet forces may be removed from defence area in certain cases
80Members of cadet forces eligible for war pensions
81Recognition of civilian organisations
82Procuring and assisting desertion
83Obstructing members of Armed Forces in execution of duty
84Obstructing parades
85Aiding malingering
86False statements regarding pay or allowances, etc
87Failure to account for issued property
88Giving false certificate, etc
89Bringing alcohol into defence areas, etc
90ALocally employed civilians
91Annual report
91ATerritorial Forces Employer Support Council
92Arms, etc, to remain property of the Crown
93Security of defence areas
94Recovery of excess payments
95Apprentices [Repealed]
96Public Trust to administer Nelson Rifle Prize Fund [Repealed]
96ANelson Rifle Prize Fund abolished
97Delegations not to lapse
98Execution of instruments, etc
99Proclamations, etc
100Promulgation of orders
102Transitional provisions
103Application of State Sector Act 1988
104Application of Public Finance Act 1989
105Consequential amendments and repeals

An Act—


to continue to authorise the raising and maintaining of armed forces for certain purposes; and


to constitute the New Zealand Defence Force, comprising—


the Armed Forces under the command of the Chief of Defence Force; and


the Civil Staff under the control of the Chief of Defence Force; and


to reaffirm that the Armed Forces are under Ministerial authority; and


to define the respective roles and relationships of the Minister of Defence, the Secretary of Defence, and the Chief of Defence Force; and


to redefine the relationship of the Chief of Defence Force to the Chiefs of Service; and


to make provision generally in respect of the establishment, control, and activities of the New Zealand Defence Force, and related matters

Title paragraph (e): amended, on 20 September 2007, by section 4 of the Defence Amendment Act 2007 (2007 No 51).