The most striking feature of this graph is the huge defence spending spikes which occurred in the First and Second world wars. Defence spending in 1943 constituted 35% of gross domestic product (GDP), the highest recorded level in New Zealand’s history. Aside from world-war spending, defence spending was historically high in the 1950s, at 2–3% of GDP. It dropped to 1–2% in the 1960s and 1970s. Note: estimated real GDP figures are used – official GDP figures were not available until 1972.
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Source: Statistics New Zealand