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Satisfaction levels high in first NZDF

Satisfaction levels high in first NZDF Attitude Survey

More than 90% of NZDF personnel are satisfied with their employment, according to the 2002 NZDF On-going Attitude Survey (O-AtS)—the first such survey to be used by the Defence Force.

Minister of Defence Mark Burton is welcoming the results of the survey, which has been developed to provide the NZDF with data on a wide variety of personnel perceptions and attitudes.

“This is an excellent result. I am delighted, but not surprised, to see that our service men and women find their roles rewarding. With 90% of personnel rating their job satisfaction and morale levels as ‘satisfactory’ or ‘excellent,’ it’s clear that the NZDF is offering a viable, long-term career path.

“However, not surprisingly, the survey also highlights specific areas for improvement across the NZDF. Issues of pay, workload, career management, and time off all proved to be of concern to many personnel.”

Mark Burton congratulated Chief of Defence Force (CDF) Bruce Ferguson, who initiated the survey.

“It is to the credit of New Zealand’s CDF that he is committed enough to ask the hard questions and then listen to the answers.

“The NZDF takes their personnel’s concerns seriously, and is taking practical steps to address these issues. Over the past year, initiatives such as a leave policy review, improvements in leave management, and enhanced career management systems have been put in place. In addition, paid parental leave was introduced last year, and the development of an NZDF Mental Health Strategy will help ensure that the mental well-being of all personnel is monitored and maintained.

“Issues of remuneration are also being addressed. This year, the NZDF received their third government budget-funded pay rise in as many years, as well as a further increase in their Military Factor Allowance. We will continue to work with the Chief of Defence Force to address the issue of market relativity for military personnel.”

The initial 2002 survey was administered to two-thirds of NZDF personnel, and the survey will continue to be administered to a random selection of personnel on an ongoing basis. Regular monitoring will allow the NZDF to track changes in attitudes and their underlying causes. It will also offer insights into personnel issues, response effectiveness, and changing service conditions.

The Australian Defence Force conducts a similar survey, and the two show comparable results. While overall morale is high in both forces, areas of dissatisfaction also mirror each other closely.

Mark Burton said that preliminary results from the 2003 first quarter O-AtS indicate that satisfaction levels are increasing significantly in many of the problem areas.

“We are headed in the right direction, but as is the case with defence forces in all Western countries, there will always be challenges to face.

“I am sure there will be those who choose to nitpick about these results, but I congratulate CDF for showing strong leadership and a willingness to work with the government to deal with the tough issues head on.”

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