According to figures released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) today, during the Global
Days of Action on Military Spending, world military expenditure in 2017 totalled an estimated $(USD)1,739 billion, the
highest level since the end of the cold war. After 13 consecutive years of increases from 1999 to 2011 and relatively
unchanged spending from 2012 to 2016, total global expenditure rose by 1.1 per cent in real terms in 2017.
Every dollar of military expenditure is a dollar taken away from socially useful spending - a dollar that could be used
to reduce and mitigate the impacts of climate change, and ensure to a decent standard of living for all: a dollar that
could be used to save lives, rather than preparing for war.
Last year's global military spending averaged out to more than $(USD)4.7 billion every day, while an average of more
than 15,342 children under the age of five died every day from mainly preventable causes - lack of access to adequate
food, clean water and basic medicines.  That is one of the prices paid, the collateral damage that is seldom talked
about, for maintaining armed forces in a state of combat readiness around the world.
Just twelve days of military expenditure would eradicate extreme poverty everywhere, and just five weeks of military
expenditure would ensure that five of the key UN Sustainable Development Goals are met - eradicating extreme poverty,
ending hunger, ensuring healthy lives, clean water, sanitation, and quality education for all. 
The 15 countries with the highest military spending in 2017 were the same as those in 2016, but with a few notable
changes in their ranking - these 15 countries accounted for $(USD)1,396 billion, or 80 per cent, of total global
There is a spending gap between the top five spenders - the USA, China, Saudi Arabia, Russia and India - and the rest of
the top 15 countries. While these five all allocated over $(USD)60 billion to their militaries in 2017, all but one of
the other 10 countries spent less than $(USD)50 billion (the exception being France which spent $(USD)57.8 billion).
Together, the top five accounted for 60 per cent of global military spending in 2017.
At $(USD)610 billion, US military spending accounted for more than a third of the world total in 2017. The USA’s
spending was 2.7 times greater than the next highest spender, China; indeed, the USA spent more than the next seven
highest spenders combined. While US military expenditure had fallen each year since 2010, in 2017 it was unchanged from
2016. However, the US military budget for 2018 has been set at a substantially higher level ($(USD)700 billion). The
higher spending is to support increases in military personnel and the modernization of conventional and nuclear weapons.
Regional trends: Total regional military spending fell in Africa (by 0.5 per cent) and in Europe (by 2.2 per cent) between 2016 and
2017. The decrease in Africa was its third consecutive annual fall in military spending, while that in Europe was the
first since 2013. Military expenditure in the Americas remained unchanged in 2017, but was 11 per cent lower than in
2008. By contrast, military spending in Asia and Oceania rose for the 29th successive year, this time by 3.6 per cent.
Military expenditure for countries in the Middle East for which data is available also grew in 2017, by 6.2 per cent,
and was 29 per cent higher than in 2008 for these countries.
Asia and Oceania: Military spending in Asia and Oceania reached $(USD)477 billion in 2017, 3.6 per cent higher than in 2016 and 59 per
cent higher than in 2008. It was the second largest region in terms of military spending in 2017, accounting for 27 per
cent of global military expenditure. Five of the top 15 global spenders in 2017 are in this region: China (rank 2),
India (rank 5), Japan (rank 8), South Korea (rank 10) and Australia (rank 13). 
New Zealand's military spending
In last year's Budget, military spending increased to a record level of more than $(NZD)3.67 billion - an average of
almost $(NZD)71 million every week. By way of contrast, 28% of children here live in a family with an income below the
poverty line, and at least one in one hundred New Zealanders are homelessness. 
All public services - health, education and so on - desperately need increased spending, but as well as the outrageous
level of annual military expenditure, an additional $(NZD)20 billion "investment" (as the previous government referred
to it) over the next 15 years was announced in 2016 for increased combat capability, new offensive weapons systems, two
new warships and new cyber warfare capacity. That amount could build 40,000 new state houses. 
'Welfare or Warfare?' pre-Budget lunchtime forum: To mark the 2018 Global Days of Action on Military Spending, a 'Welfare or Warfare?' pre-Budget lunchtime forum will
be held in Wellington on Friday, 4 May - join us for a discussion on government spending priorities, with Paul Barber,
Policy Advisor, New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services; Jacqui Southey, Children’s Rights Advocacy, Strategy
and Research Director, Save the Children; and Edwina Hughes, Coordinator, Peace Movement Aotearoa; from 1pm to 2pm, at
St Andrew's on the Terrace. Your RSVP is essential because space is limited, please RSVP at https://www.facebook.com/events/202797460335587
or email Peace Movement Aotearoa, email@example.com
Resources and references:
Aotearoa New Zealand Campaign on Military Spending - http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/gdams.htm
 Trends in world military expenditure 2017, SIPRI Fact Sheet, 2 May 2018 - http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/milex18facts.pdf
 Time for action on military spending, Peace Movement Aotearoa - the updated edition will be available at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/gdams.htm