Matt Nippert is a business investigations reporter.

Spies and soldiers big Budget winners

Spies and soldiers were big winners in Budget 2016, with military and intelligence agencies getting a combined $479 million in extra operational funding over the next four years.

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee said $300.9m would be going to the military forces for which he is responsible.

"These increases are required for the Defence Forces to carry out the tasks required of it by government," he said.

In a statement Brownlee said the boost, $31.8m next year and $89.7m in each of the following three years, was tied to soon-to-be-released 2016 Defence White Paper and would cove personnel costs, upgrading capabilities and regenerating properties.

The funding increase, given the defence force's output expense in the current year of $1.9b, is a relatively modest 1.6 per cent in the next year, with 4.4 percent in each of the three years' following.

The increase for the intelligence services, totaling $178.7m over four years, are relatively more significant. Spending on the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service will jump 26 per cent next year to $64.2m, climbing to $81m annually by 2020.

Chris Finlayson, the Minister responsible for the intelligence services, said in a statement the $178.7m boost over the next four years followed a strategic capability resource review that concluded a significant investment was needed to ensure the agencies remained effective.

As to exactly where the extra intelligence spending, or indeed the current spending of our spies, is being directed to is unknown with budget documents providing supplementary information listing all the spending as "Intelligence and Security Department Expenses and Capital Expenditure" with no further details provided.

UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne criticised the lack of transparency.

"I agree with this week's call by the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security for the agencies to become more open and transparent, consistent with the level that even agencies in other Five Eyes countries are moving to.

"There is absolutely no reason at all why our intelligence agencies should be the most secret of all - more transparency over the additional funding provided in this year's Budget, without compromising national security, would be a good start," he said.

Finlayson cited "risks posed by extremist groups such as ISIL" and "global threats such as cyber attacks" and said the extra spending would see headcount rise at the SIS.

"This investment allows significant staff recruitment and further extends the NZSIS's ability to respond to the threat from foreign terrorist fighters," he said.

The funding also include a pre-announced $120.2m plan to for the Government Communications Security Bureau to upgrade the governments' cryptographic capability. While funding was set aside for the project last year, it only received the Ministerial go-head in March.

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