New Zealand Defence Minister Jonathan Colemon announced that the New Zealand Defence Force has received government approval to replace the Steyr AUG currently in service with up to 8800 new rifles.
A competitive tender will be conducted to purchase an off-the-shelf replacement. The NZDM is currently seeking a rifle capable of being optimized for a variety of situations, one that offers consistency in fire from close quarters to out to 500m in daylight conditions, half that in low light. According to a 2011 Ministry of Defence report, operations in Afghanistan showed that the AUG was ineffective at ranges greater than 200m, and it was difficult to accurately identify adversaries.
The NZDF has already introduced new light machine guns, combat shotguns, and marksman rifles into service. Future projects would consider replacements for the current pistols, sniper rifles, and grenade launchers.