Defence Minister Peeni Henare says a new $47 million engineering facility is part of bringing "sub-standard" military facilities across the country up to scratch.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern accompanied Henare to Linton Army Camp in the Manawatū-Whanganui region for the announcement about the site, which will maintain and upgrade specialist military vehicles and weapons.
It was Ardern's first visit to an army base, and she was greeted with a pōwhiri and a wero, challenge, led by a wāhine Māori for the military's first time.
The move came a week after the army came under fire after an essay criticising moves to increase diversity in the ranks won a military writing competition, only to be taken off the website amid an internal backlash.
Henare said the pōwhiri structure was "a good move", and especially being Ardern's first visit to an army base.
"I was quite excited to see that. Women have been a huge part of the military for a long time, and today was a good day to showcase that."
The Linton Maintenance Facility is expected to open mid-2023.
It will have an electric vehicle charging station, rainwater harvesting, low-energy heating systems, and the ability to support solar and wind electricity generation.
The base services over 3000 personnel and several hundred vehicles.
Henare said the Linton upgrade was part of a wider upgrade project for New Zealand's military facilities.
Since becoming Minister of Defence he had seen many facilities across the country, "cold and cramped", and not up to an "environmentally-modern standard", he said.
Part of Ardern's visit to Linton included turning the first sod of soil at the site, with a military digger under supervision - an act which drew a few light-hearted comments.
"I normally only get offered a spade," Ardern said.
Army Chief Major General John Boswell John Boswell responded: "It was either [the digger] or explosives."
"I would have been happy to push a button," Ardern responded.
The announcement comes as the Government launches into a week of highlighting its infrastructure work.
Earlier on Tuesday Ardern visited the opening of stage 2 of a 3-stage, 85-unit social housing site at Papaioe in Palmerston North.
The units are for the elderly, people with disabilities and those on low incomes.
The city has seen massive demand for social housing, with the waiting list more than doubling in two years to 716 households.
The Palmerston North City Council project had received $4.6m from the Government's shovel-ready Covid-19 recovery fund.
Ardern said the new units were part of the Government's wider plans to make sure every person's "basic needs" were met in relation to housing.
The Government had added 7671 additional social houses since 2017, and was aiming for 18,000 by 2024.
"There is still a lot of work to do," she said.