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Defence Minister’s denial lacks credibility



Defence Spokesperson
24 October 2013 MEDIA STATEMENT

Defence Minister’s denial lacks credibility

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman’s denial that there has been any reduction in the capability of the New Zealand Defence Force flies in the face of strong evidence to the contrary contained in the NZDF Report, says Labour’s Defence Spokesperson, Phil Goff.

“Jonathan Coleman’s attempt to deny in Parliament today things that his own Defence Force has publically admitted is shameful.

“The Navy has described the skills and experience levels in ‘critical’ trade groups as being ‘seriously degraded’. It also says there has been a ‘significant’ reduction in the number of trained personnel available.

“The Navy further says it was unable to crew more than four of its six new Naval Patrol Force vessels in 2012/13. It says the off-shore patrol vessel HMNZS Wellington was unavailable for the majority of 2013/14.

“In the face of this evidence from his own Defence Force how can the minister credibly claim there has been no loss of capability?

“The Air Force also acknowledges that it cannot meet all expected output and readiness measures because of ‘a limited number of trained crews and equipment obsolescence and deficiencies’.

“These shortfalls in capability reflect the record levels of attrition, reaching 23 per cent in the Navy and 24 per cent in the Army in 2012/13.

“They also reflect the slashing of numbers in the regular Defence Force, which have been cut every year under National. Numbers in the regular force are now 1,200 under where they were in 2009.

“National never revealed to the public that this was its true agenda when it was elected in 2008 and 2011,” Phil Goff said.


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