New Zealand's armed forces face an increasingly dangerous world and will need to get more assertive and sophisticated.
That's what the first Defence Assessment in seven years has warned, and it pulled no punches in its opening line.
"New Zealand's strategic environment is deteriorating, and security threats are increasing," the Ministry of Defence report said.
It's not just major power rivalries or established threats - a "grey zone" between war and peace will seriously test New Zealand, the paper said.
The grey zone was the domain of sabotage, propaganda, and foreign interference, the paper added.
Increased frequency of these threat types would probably warrant closer co-operation between the defence and spy agencies, Secretary of Defence Andrew Bridgman said.
"Across a lot of sectors ... we need to work in a holistic way. The threats aren't orthodox."
Bridgman this afternoon said a policy review would examine strategies and then potentially reveal more details about combating the grey zone threats.
The long-held pattern of New Zealand and the NZDF responding mostly to natural disasters or minor regional conflicts is a thing of the past, the assessment added.
Instead, Kiwis can expect to be called on to provide "more sophisticated military capabilities" in support of regional partners.
The Ministry of Defence said strategic competition and climate change, especially in the South Pacific and Antarctica, would impact New Zealand's safety and security.
And the assessment said even if the contest between major powers did not degenerate into open warfare, it would play out in space, cyberspace, and other arenas.
But the assessment also pointed to violent extremism, global organised crime, and "the weaponisation of information and emerging technologies" as significant threats.
Increasing nationalism in some places, and Russia's undermining of the global rules-based system, were destabilising international relations and subsequently were a threat to New Zealand, the paper added.
The ministry said an approach developed for the more benign world of recent history could not be relied on to defend New Zealand in the near future.
Mirroring much recent geopolitical language out of America, the report quickly named the "Indo-Pacific" as the arena where global affairs could deteriorate with negative impacts for New Zealand's security.
The paper argued the US was returning to a more engaged role.
"United States engagement and presence across the globe, enabled by its expansive portfolio of bilateral and multilateral security arrangements, has underpinned stability and security in key global regions."
The paper said US-China rivalry was a major driver of strategic competition.
That will be of little surprise to those watching events in the Pacific Rim, where tensions over Taiwan and the South China Sea have been frequent.
The Defence Assessment, released shortly before a press conference, said Beijing was seeking to reshape the international system to make it align more with China's values.
Asked what New Zealand would do if China invaded Taiwan, Henare replied: "First and foremost, what we as a country are hoping to do is make sure that diplomacy reigns."
He added: "We need to ensure we can enter into positive dialogue to de-escalate any of the serious threats that might come about."
The assessment said New Zealand's most important Asian defence partners included Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Vietnam.
"New Zealand is increasingly grappling with similar security issues to those facing these states, including in the defence space."
This week, the Lowy Institute's Asia Power Index found Beijing lost power this year and was exerting less diplomatic and cultural influence.
The Sydney-based think tank found Washington had gained influence this year. The index ranked the US number one for projected distribution of future economic, military and demographic resources.
It also rated the United States top for diplomatic influence, defence networks or alliances, and resilience.
New Zealand's highest rankings were for defence networks and resilience. It ranked 6th for those two measures but 13th overall, scoring poorly on military capability.
Henare told media the vast majority of the defence estate would have to be replaced within 30 years.
"Much of the defence estate is old and outdated. In fact, when I visited one base, I was told that it was the base where my grandfather visited in World War II."
It will cost about $3.2 billion to replace these ageing buildings and facilities, Henare said.
Henare said people were his first priority, and infrastructure was the second.
The third priority is the Pacific, under threat in places from climate change and rising sea levels.
Bridgman said the climate crisis posed an existential threat to many of New Zealand's oceanic neighbours.
The assessment said New Zealand must concentrate its defence efforts on the Pacific, where its security was most affected and where it could make the biggest impact.
The paper said defence policy had mostly viewed the Pacific as requiring only
lower-end capabilities suitable for responding to contained intrastate conflicts.
Orthodoxy had been that defence actions further abroad needed different, high-end capabilities for more complex operations and higher threat environments.
That way of thinking had to go, the assessment said.
Defence operations close to home will more often need sophisticated military capabilities in support of regional partners, the assessment added.
It said examples of this would be in greater maritime domain awareness or responding to overfishing.
Air Marshal Kevin Short said the defence force was committed to reducing its carbon footprint where possible.
But he said for practical reasons and to ensure deployability, it would likely still be a fairly large fossil fuel consumer in the near future.