Australia has set in motion a major change in its military approach with a re-focus on its own backyard, with clear implications for New Zealand.
Alongside a hefty defence spend-up of NZ$288 billion over the next decade is a sharpened strategy centred on the Indo-Pacific region where any future conflict would be fought across air, sea, and land.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia must "prepare for a post-Covid world that is poorer, more dangerous and more disorderly".
Canberra now appears to be aiming to improve its own ability to deter and respond to threats, independent of long-time ally the United States. As a result, it seems likely that Australia will work more closely with regional armed forces.
A Lowy Institute commentary says the new strategy notes Australia's backyard "should be the top priority, with US-led operations in the Middle East demoted. It also recognises that Australia needs to be more self-reliant, perhaps a tacit acknowledgment that the alliance with America is of diminishing value".
Australia's relationship with China, the country's biggest trade partner, has worsened with scraps over the origins of the coronavirus outbreak, accusations of cyber-attacks and spying, and the security law in Hong Kong.
But defence tensions have been brewing for a long time with Beijing's increasing rivalry with the US, its gradual military modernisation and strategy of building bases in the South China Sea.
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Writing for the ABC, its former global affairs analyst Stan Grant observed that "increasing Australia's military spending is clearly an acknowledgment of the China challenge. If a global war was to erupt today, it would likely start in our region. Much of Asia is a tinderbox."
New Zealand could benefit from a bigger protective umbrella from our ally. It could also be an opportunity to contribute through our defence industry and technological know-how.
But the risk of stepping on the defence gas is it could contribute to an acceleration in tensions and weapons in an already heavily militarised region, becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy.
There is a valid argument that ongoing co-operation with China through trade and diplomacy rather than a confronting stance is a safer and more realistic option.