By Lucy Craymer

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand defence minister Judith Collins said on Monday she expects to receive a review into the country’s defence capabilities in June, the latest step in the modernisation of the country’s military.

New Zealand’s military is struggling with aging equipment and personnel shortages, with three of the country’s nine navy ships idle due to of staff shortages.

Collins told Reuters in an interview that she was expecting the plan in June and it would guide where money needs to be spent and investments made.

“Nothing in defence is anything other than a big spend and so, it’s really important we get it as right as we possibly can, given what we know now and might see in the future,” Collins said.

Collins, who is also Minister of Space, said that given the size of New Zealand’s space sector she would like to investigate the possibility of New Zealand having its own defence satellites.

“We’re one of the very few countries in the world that isn’t using our space industry in relation to our own defence area, and there may well be an opportunity,” she said. “Whether or not that makes sense, we’re still going to work that through, but it’s certainly worth looking at.”

(Reporting by Lucy Craymer in Wellington; Editing by Alasdair Pal)

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