27 July 2023
Southeast Asia Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence, in collaboration with Asia Forum, organised a session on 26 July, featuring an esteemed guest speaker, Tony Lynch, with the topic “New Zealanders and Our National Security”.
Tony is the Deputy Chief Executive of the National Security Group at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. His direct responsibilities include overseeing the architecture of the national security system, National Intelligence Assessments, Intelligence Coordination and National Security Policy (including Cyber Security, Emergency Management, and Security and Intelligence Policy).
New Zealand’s national security is impacted by global trends and an increasingly complex international environment. The challenging geostrategic context demands national security changes in New Zealand.
During the session, Tony effectively drew on a recently published national security Long-Term Insights Briefing (LTIB), a joint briefing from the Security and Intelligence Board agencies, led by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The topic of this briefing is “Engaging an increasingly diverse Aotearoa New Zealand on national security risks, challenges, and opportunities”.
This work was informed by the first national security Public Survey (2022), which highlighted the national security concerns New Zealanders are most worried about. A second survey in early 2023 updated these concerns. The top 5 perceived threats likely to occur in the next 12 months are “Natural disasters, Organised crime between New Zealand and another country, Hacking into information systems, Disinformation, and Nuclear/biological/chemical attacks somewhere in the world”.
Tony conveyed a clear message that “Public conversations about national security matter and keeping New Zealand safe” requires all New Zealanders to be a part of it, and they need to be better informed about the range of threats the nation faces.
The SEA CAPE Director, Professor Siah Hwee Ang, who moderated the session, summed up the evening’s talk: “New Zealanders need to have more education on national security, and Tony’s session today is certainly a good start”.
Almost 60 people from the government, business, tertiary and diplomatic circles attended the hybrid talk, organised in collaboration with Asia Forum, at Victoria University of Wellington’s Pipitea campus on 26 July.