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Retention Pay Highlights Defence Pay Board Need

Media Release

11 December 2007

Retention Payments Highlight The Need For An Independent Pay Board For Defence

Reports that the Navy are having trouble retaining marine technicians, to the extent that there is concern at the highest level of command they may not have the manpower to put ships to sea, have come as no surprise to New Zealand First defence spokesperson Ron Mark.

“The fact that the Navy is having to offer extraordinary retention payments in order to stem the flood of technicians leaving confirms what New Zealand First has long been saying, that a career in the forces has to be based on realistic and rewarding pay rates and conditions of service,” said Mr Mark.

“That is fundamental to attracting and retaining quality trained personnel.

“Unlike police, nurses or teachers, service personnel have no union or similar association, and are at an extreme disadvantage when seeking an advance in their employment conditions.

“While the Chief of Defence Force holds ultimate responsibility for conditions and remuneration, he is also required by statute to have regard to fairness to the taxpayer, which effectively leaves him fighting for his staff with one hand tied behind his back.

“New Zealand First wants to see the establishment of an Independent Armed Forces Remuneration Board, tasked with assessing the work the forces do, taking into account the uniqueness of the work and comparing that against market rates, in order to make a recommendation which would be binding on the government.

“Just as judges and MPs are in the enviable position of having their pay set by the New Zealand Remuneration Board, with the government having to accept any recommendation, so should it be for our defence personnel,” concluded Mr Mark.


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