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Defence Chief Tightens Procedures

New Zealand Defence Force
Te Ope Kaatua O Aotearoa

Media Release

11 August 1999

DEFENCE CHIEF TIGHTENS PROCEDURES

The Chief of Defence Force, Air Marshal Carey Adamson, yesterday tightened the rules on attendance at commercial seminars and conferences after he learned that 60 NZDF personnel had attended the World Masters of Business Seminar in Auckland.

"The opportunity to hear such an outstanding military leader as United States General Norman Schwarzkopf is rare and a case could have been made for attendance by a few senior personnel from the three Services. Clearly, however, the attendance by 21 Navy, 34 Army and 5 Air Force personnel can not be justified," said Air Marshal Adamson.

"This seminar was aimed at the commercial and business sector rather than the Defence Force. We have our own specialised professional development courses and I can not accept that the costs in this case were justified on value for money grounds, either at the average cost per individual of $657.45, and particularly at the total cost to the tax payer of $39,447. These costs include travel and accommodation for some of the attendees."

"I acknowledge the concern held by the Minister of Defence over the handling of this matter and his decision to reduce the baseline funding for the next two years for the personnel development part of the Defence Budget. I will ensure that expenditure in this area is reduced to comply with the Minister's direction."

"While no NZDF orders or instructions were breached in this instance, it is my responsibility to ensure adequate oversight of decisions on expenditure. I have therefore issued a new directive that requires decisions on attendance at commercially run conferences to be taken at a much higher level than was the case for this conference."

"My directive provides guidelines on attendance at such seminars and conferences. I have emphasised the requirement for financial delegation holders to critically examine the need for, and value of any NZDF expenditure before they issue approval," concluded Air Marshal Adamson.

ENDS

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