Skip to main content

Security for NZDF industry partners

Security threats are real. When you work with the New Zealand Defence Force, managing security is mission-critical. You're on the team that protects our country. We need to keep our people safe and our information, assets and locations secure. You play an important role in protecting them.

We value our industry partners and we place a high level of trust in you.  That means you have a high level of responsibility.  There are security requirements you need to meet. 

If you need to work with information, assets or locations that are classified:

  • Your business may need to be accredited by the Defence Industry Security Programme (DISP) to ensure you meet New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and New Zealand Government security requirements.

  • Any of your people working with anything classified must be personally vetted by either the New Zealand Police or the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service for a security clearance to ensure they meet the same standards as NZDF personnel.

Our security requirements protect us, they protect you and they protect New Zealand.  We are here to help you understand and comply with them.  Security breaches can be deliberate acts.  But many are accidents, and many of these accidents are the result of poor security practices.  We’ll work with you to prevent problems and manage risks. 

Security is everyone’s responsibility.  When we work together in an open, honest way, we build a strong relationship, get the job done right and together, we protect New Zealand.

Get in touch

The Defence and International Industrial Security (DIIS) team manages your DISP accreditation, audits your compliance and gives you security information and advice. We are here to answer your questions and help you through the process. Contact us at DIIS@nzdf.mil.nz.

Defence Industry Security Programme (DISP)

If you work with classified information, assets or locations, your business may need to get and hold a security accreditation from the Defence Industry Security Programme (DISP).

DISP is the security risk management programme for our industry partners. DISP accreditation ensures you meet NZDF and New Zealand Government security requirements. As part of DISP accreditation, you will need security clearances for your people and a Facility Security Officer to manage the security requirements of your contract with us.

Types of DISP accreditation

There are three main types of DISP accreditation depending on the work you do, where and for how long. If your business needs DISP accreditation, you will need one or more of these:

  • Personnel Accreditation – if any of your people need to work with classified information, assets or locations, they will be vetted personally for the right security clearance. Your people include you, your staff and any subcontractors.

  • Facility Accreditation – if you will be working with classified information, or assets at your business premises, we will conduct a Security Risk Assessment (SRA) of the premises. You will need to make any physical changes we require, such as installing a safe or a security container, or getting NZDF-standard locks on doors.

  • Information Security Accreditation – if you will be using cloud services or your own information system or equipment to develop classified documents, or if you will be hosting NZDF's classified ICT equipment, we will require assurance that those systems and facilities meet the required security standards. For information systems, we will require assurance that appropriate certification and accreditation has been done.

There may be some limited exceptions to the requirement for DISP accreditation, for instance:

  • If the work is for a short period, your people may only need to get security clearances.

  • If you are tendering for a contract and the tender documents are classified, a limited number of your people may only need to get security clearances and to access the documents at approved locations.

  • If you are doing a one-off job at a classified location, for instance a plumbing repair, your people may only need to get a Defence Site Clearance (DSC) and to meet the security requirements for the location such as being signed in and out or escorted while doing the work.

  • If your people are embedded into an NZDF unit for the whole of their contract, they may only need to get security clearances.

Applying for DISP accreditation

You can apply for DISP accreditation and security clearances when you have an agreed contract with the NZDF. We need to know exactly what you will be doing first, so that you apply for the right accreditations and clearances.

There is no fee for DISP accreditation or security clearances. But if you need to work with classified information or assets on your own business premises, you may incur costs for any physical changes you need to make to meet the security requirements of your contract. For example, you may need to purchase new locks or provide a secure room or a safe to store classified information. You may also incur costs for any information security certifications and accreditations we require.

When you apply for DISP accreditation you will need to appoint at least one of your people as a Facility Security Officer.

Holding DISP accreditation

Your DISP accreditation needs constant maintenance:

  • Your business must return regular self-inspection reports.

  • Your business must undergo a regular Security Risk Assessment (SRA) and make any upgrades we require.

  • Your people must be able to hold their security clearances and meet the ongoing reporting requirements for their security clearance level.

Facility Security Officer (FSO)

Your Facility Security Officer (FSO) ensures your business and your people meet the security requirements of your contract with us. You must appoint one of your people as your Facility Security Officer and you may need to appoint a Deputy Facility Security Officer, depending on the size of your business.

The Facility Security Officer is the NZDF’s key security contact. They are responsible for putting systems and processes in place to meet the requirements of your DISP accreditation and helping us to manage your compliance.

The role will add some extra responsibilities to the workload of the people you appoint. Find out more about the role in our Facility Security Officer Guide.

Find out more

Get more information about working with the NZDF in the Defence Industry Security Guide.

The NZDF’s security requirements are based on the Protective Security Requirements (PSR). This is a policy framework which outlines the New Zealand Government’s expectations of what government agencies like the NZDF must do to effectively manage personnel, physical and information security. Private sector organisations should consider the Protective Security Requirements as best practice and this site gives you some useful security resources.

Security Clearances 

If your people need to work with classified information, assets or locations, they must be able to get and hold the right security clearances.

Security clearances ensure your people meet the same standards as NZDF personnel. Your people include you, your staff and any of your subcontractors. To apply for a security clearance, a person must meet the citizenship or residence criteria for the level of security clearance they need.

To get a security clearance, they must be vetted by either the New Zealand Police or the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS). The depth of this background check depends on the level of security clearance they need. The Clean Slate scheme does not apply to anyone seeking a security clearance to work with the NZDF. You should explain this to your people before you put them forward for a security clearance.

Security clearances for your people are part of your accreditation to the Defence Industry Security Programme (DISP). You may be able to start work with the NZDF before your people receive their security clearances, but you will not be able to work with classified information, assets or locations until your people are cleared.

Security clearance and security classification levels

There are different levels of security classification for:

  • Information – any form of information, whether in a physical, digital, verbal or other form.

  • Assets – anything the NZDF works with, for instance equipment, vehicles, weapons or any other items.

  • Locations – any NZDF camps, bases, offices or other facilities.

There are different levels of security clearance. The level of security clearance that a person needs is based on the level of classified information, assets or locations they need to work with. It is not based on their status or length of service.

Security clearance level

You need at least this level

Security classification level

To work with things at this level

Vetted by

 

     
 No security clearance  UNCLASSIFIED  
     

Defence Site Clearance

IN CONFIDENCE

SENSITIVE

RESTRICTED

New Zealand Police

     

National Security Clearance

CONFIDENTIAL

SECRET

TOP SECRET

TOP SECRET SPECIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL

SECRET

TOP SECRET

TOP SECRET

NZ Security Intelligence Service

                                                                       

Defence Site Clearance (DSC)

Your people must be able to get and hold a Defence Site Clearance (DSC) if they need access to information, assets or locations classified up to RESTRICTED level. They must be vetted by the New Zealand Police and they must apply for vetting through the NZDF.

A Ministry of Justice criminal record check will not be accepted. The information the New Zealand Police provide to the NZDF is more extensive. As well as detailing any criminal conviction history, it can also include any traffic conviction history or information on any contact a person has had with the police. The Clean Slate scheme does not apply to anyone applying for a Defence Site Clearance.

Applying for a Defence Site Clearance

To apply to be vetted by the New Zealand Police for a Defence Site Clearance, a person must:

  • Have lived in New Zealand for at least six months.

  • Give their written consent.

  • Complete a short form giving their name, address, birth date and place, date of arrival in New Zealand if not born here, nationality, and two forms of proof of identity such as a copy of a driver licence and passport.

It can take some weeks to vet a person for a Defence Site Clearance. The vetting process will be slowed if the form is not complete and correct.

Holding a Defence Site Clearance

A Defence Site Clearance needs constant maintenance. To hold it, a person must:

  • Report any new criminal or traffic convictions or charges, and any new disciplinary proceedings or findings.

  • Report security incidents – including any incident that can or has put NZDF people, information, assets or locations at risk, and any other event or discovery that you feel is suspicious or could indicate the compromise of classified information, assets or locations.

  • Minimise risks from your social media – for instance you must not say you have a security clearance, or post any information about the work you do for the NZDF to any business or personal platform unless you have prior written approval from our Defence and International Industrial Security (DIIS) team.

  • Understand and comply with legislation – the Crimes Act 1961 means you must not use or allow access to official information in any way that puts the security or defence of New Zealand at risk, or use or disclose it to benefit yourselves or others financially, and you can be prosecuted and jailed if you do not comply.

  • Meet your obligations when you leave – you have a lifelong obligation to be discreet about your work with the NZDF and about any information, assets or locations you access in the course of it.

National Security Clearance (NSC)

Your people must be able to get and hold a National Security Clearance (NSC) if they will need to work with information, assets or locations classified as CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET or TOP SECRET.

They must be vetted by the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service. The Clean Slate scheme does not apply to anyone seeking a National Security Clearance.

The higher the security clearance level a person needs, the more in-depth the background checks are. The New Zealand Security Intelligence Service looks for evidence that the person is loyal, honest and trustworthy, will respect their responsibilities, and will use good judgement in their decisions about classified information, assets and locations, free from any inappropriate influence.

There are four levels of New Zealand Government National Security Clearance. In most cases, the person applying for one of these clearance levels must have a background that is checkable for a required period. If the person is younger, the required period does not extend back before the age of 18.

People who have lived in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States or Canada during the required period have a checkable background. You should talk to us about people who have lived elsewhere during the required period.

National Security Clearance level    

Background checking period required

CONFIDENTIAL

5 years

SECRET

10 years

TOP SECRET

10 years

TOP SECRET SPECIAL

15 years

Applying for a National Security Clearance

 To apply to be vetted by the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service for a National Security Clearance, a person must:

  • Be a New Zealand citizen, a permanent resident or a residence class visa holder, in most cases.

  • Give their written consent.

  • Have a background that is checkable for the required period, in most cases.

  • Complete:

    • An online application form to check they are eligible to apply, and if so

    • A detailed online questionnaire about their personal and professional life including information about current and past residences, employment, travel, relationships and extended family; and, if required, the details of personal and professional referees, who will then be asked to fill out an online questionnaire.

    • If required, an interview with the New Zealand Security and Intelligence Service.

If a person holds a foreign government’s security clearance, it may be transferable, depending on the country.

Use this self-check tool to find out if you or someone else might be eligible to apply for a National Security Clearance.

The time it takes to vet a person depends on a range of factors, but it can take some months. The process will be slowed if the form is not complete and correct, or if referees are unavailable or do not meet the criteria. It can take time to gather the information needed so if you know your people will need a National Security Clearance you may want to suggest they start early.

Holding a National Security Clearance

 A National Security Clearance needs constant maintenance. To hold it, a person must:

  • Report changes in personal circumstances – including events such as marriage, divorce, bankruptcy, criminal or traffic convictions or charges, disciplinary processes or findings, and substance dependency.

  • Report security incidents – including any incident that can or has put NZDF people, information, assets or locations at risk, and any other event or discovery that you feel is suspicious or could indicate the compromise of classified information, assets or locations.

  • Report all international travel – to any other country, whether visiting or just transiting, and whether business or personal.

  • Minimise risks from your social media – for instance you must not say you have a National Security Clearance or post any information about the work you do for the NZDF to any business or personal platform unless you have prior written approval from our Defence and International Industrial Security (DIIS) team.

  • Understand and comply with legislation – the Crimes Act 1961 means you must not use or allow access to official information in any way that puts the security or defence of New Zealand at risk, or use or disclose it to benefit yourselves or others financially, and you can be prosecuted and jailed if you do not comply.

  • Meet your obligations when you leave – you have a lifelong obligation to be discreet about your work with NZDF and to protect classified information, assets or locations.