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Report Reveals Government Botched Defence Reforms

Acting Defence Spokesperson

30 January 2013 MEDIA STATEMENT

Report Reveals Government Botched Defence Reforms

The Auditor-General’s report on the civilianisation of the Defence Force slams the Government and the Force for a botched reorganisation that has caused more damage than it has benefits, Labour’s acting Defence spokesperson, Phil Goff, says.

“Reorganisation within the Defence Force to meet the Government’s demand for up to $400 million in savings a year has caused unprecedented damage to New Zealand’s Defence Force.

“Morale in the Force plummeted to unparalleled levels and attrition has risen to 21 per cent, double the figure when National took office.

“Staff numbers have fallen by over a thousand regular force personnel - to the extent it cannot do its job.

“The result of the Defence Force’s plans would leave the NZDF with 1618 fewer military staff than it requires to properly fulfil its role from 2015, according to the Auditor-General.

“The changes have been a disaster, paralleling the Government’s botched changes in Foreign Affairs. The Defence Force had not worked out how many staff it needed and whether it could carry out its role with the lower numbers. It lacked a workforce strategy.

“The impact, for example, left new ships tied up at the base because of a lack of trained staff and unable to sail for the funded number of sea days.

“They chose a course that ‘jeopardised aspects of military culture’ without considering the affect this would have. Defence Force staff were left disillusioned that their loyalty and commitment was not reciprocated and they have been leaving in record numbers.

“The Defence Force ‘misjudged the cumulative effect of the changes’. It had ‘limited success’ in terms of meeting its targets and would have far less saving than the targeted sum.

“This disaster is the direct result of National’s decision that the Defence Force cut spending by up to $400 million a year and incompetent National Defence Ministers oblivious to the impact on Defence Force personnel who have served their country loyally and well,” Phil Goff said.



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