Defence Act 1990

  • not the latest version

Reprint as at 18 December 2013

Defence Act 1990

Public Act1990 No 28
Date of assent1 April 1990
Commencementsee section 1(2)


Changes authorised by subpart 2 of Part 2 of the Legislation Act 2012 have been made in this reprint.

Note 4 at the end of this reprint provides a list of the amendments incorporated.

This Act is administered by the Ministry of Defence.



1 Short Title and commencement

2 Interpretation

3 Act to bind the Crown

4 Application of Act

Part 1
Constitutional position of armed forces

5 Power to raise armed forces

6 Further powers of Governor-General

7 Power of Minister of Defence

8 Chief of Defence Force

9 Use of Armed Forces to provide public service or assist civil power

10 Powers of requisition

Part 2
The New Zealand Defence Force

11 Constitution of Defence Force

12 Joint forces

13 Members of regular forces

14 Members of Civil Staff [Repealed]

15 Members of territorial forces

16 Members of reserve forces

17 Relative ranks

18 Attachment of members of one Service to another Service

19 Circumstances in which members of one Service are deemed attached to another Service

20 Modification of Acts for members of one Service attached or deemed attached to another Service

21 Transfer of members of one Service to another Service

22 Transfer for employment with other forces

23 Attachment of members of New Zealand Armed Forces to other armed forces

23A Attachment of members of other armed forces to New Zealand Armed Forces

23B Mutual powers of command when forces acting together

Part 3
Secretary of Defence, Chief of Defence Force, and Chiefs of Service

24 Secretary of Defence

25 Chief of Defence Force

26 Chief of Defence Force may be relieved of particular responsibilities in time of war or other like emergency

27 Defence Force Orders

28 Chiefs of Service

29 Chiefs of Service Committee

30 Delegation of functions, duties, and powers

31 Consultation between Secretary of Defence and Chief of Defence Force

Part 4
Terms and conditions of service in the armed forces

Appointments and enlistments

32 Appointment, promotion, and discharge of officers

33 Appointment, enlistment, and engagement

33A Age requirements

34 Oath of allegiance

35 Effect of oath of allegiance

Provisions relating to minors

36 Enlistment of minors

37 Liability of minors for active service

Liability for and duration of service

38 Liability for and duration of service in regular forces

39 Liability for service in territorial forces

40 Liability for service in reserve forces

41 Further provisions relating to Proclamations

42 Protection of employment when Proclamation made

43 Discretion to waive or postpone requirement for continuous service

44 Active service

Pay and allowances, etc

45 Conditions of service in Armed Forces

46 Regulations fixing certain terms and conditions of service

47 Defence Force Orders fixing certain terms and conditions of service [Repealed]

48 Determinations and regulations to be notified in Defence Force Orders [Repealed]

Miscellaneous provisions relating to service

49 Redress of complaints

50 Special service

50A Power to declare situation of national interest in relation to special service

50B Protection of employment when situation of national interest declared

51 Persons receiving pay but not properly attested

Discharge or release from regular forces on notice

52 Members may give notice of intention to leave regular forces

53 Return of service obligation

54 State of critical manning

55 Notice while serving overseas, etc

56 Discretion to relax requirements

57 Notice while subject to disciplinary proceedings, etc

Discharge or release from services for incompatible behaviour

57A Members may be discharged or released for incompatible behaviour

Unit funds, messes, etc

58 Unit and other non-public funds

Part 5
Terms and conditions of service in the Civil Staff

59 General principles

60 Code of conduct

61 Equal employment opportunities

61A Appointment of members of Civil Staff

62 Appointments on merit

63 Obligation to notify vacancies

64 Acting appointments

65 Evidence of appointments

66 Obligation to notify appointments

67 Review of appointments

68 Power to transfer members within Civil Staff

Application of Employment Relations Act 2000

69 Application to Civil Staff of Employment Relations Act 2000

70 Negotiation of conditions of employment

71 Personal grievances and disputes

72 Compulsory arbitration and agreement not to strike or lock out [Repealed]

73 Contravention of agreement not to strike or lock out [Repealed]

Part 5A

73A Interpretation

73B Chief of Defence Force may establish superannuation schemes for members of Defence Force

73C Requirements in respect of superannuation schemes for members of Defence Force

73D Chief of Defence Force to obtain confirmation from Government Actuary that scheme meets requirements of this Act [Repealed]

73E Contributions to superannuation schemes

73F Chief of Defence Force may establish compulsory scheme for members of Armed Forces

Part 6
Cadet forces

74 Constitution of cadet forces

75 Personnel of cadet forces

76 Cadet officers

77 Functions of cadet forces

78 Assistance to cadet forces

79 Member of cadet forces may be removed from defence area in certain cases

80 Members of cadet forces eligible for war pensions

81 Recognition of civilian organisations

Part 7
Offences punishable by civil courts

82 Procuring and assisting desertion

83 Obstructing members of Armed Forces in execution of duty

84 Obstructing parades

85 Aiding malingering

86 False statements regarding pay or allowances, etc

87 Failure to account for issued property

88 Giving false certificate, etc

89 Bringing alcohol into defence areas, etc

90 Evidence

Part 8
Miscellaneous provisions

90A Locally employed civilians

91 Annual report

91A Territorial Forces Employer Support Council

92 Arms, etc, to remain property of the Crown

93 Security of defence areas

94 Recovery of excess payments

95 Apprentices [Repealed]

96 Public Trust to administer Nelson Rifle Prize Fund [Repealed]

96A Nelson Rifle Prize Fund abolished

97 Delegations not to lapse

98 Execution of instruments, etc

99 Proclamations, etc

100 Promulgation of orders

101 Regulations

102 Transitional provisions

103 Application of State Sector Act 1988

104 Application of Public Finance Act 1989

105 Consequential amendments and repeals

Schedule 1
Enactments consequentially amended

Schedule 2
Enactments repealed

Defence Amendment Act (No 2) 2007

Reprint notes

An Act—

  • (a) to continue to authorise the raising and maintaining of armed forces for certain purposes; and

  • (b) to constitute the New Zealand Defence Force, comprising—

    • (i) the Armed Forces under the command of the Chief of Defence Force; and

    • (ii) the Civil Staff under the control of the Chief of Defence Force; and

  • (c) to reaffirm that the Armed Forces are under Ministerial authority; and

  • (d) to define the respective roles and relationships of the Minister of Defence, the Secretary of Defence, and the Chief of Defence Force; and

  • (e) to redefine the relationship of the Chief of Defence Force to the Chiefs of Service; and

  • (f) 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).