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Seven years to repair damage to Defence Force

Seven years to repair damage to Defence Force

A report by the Auditor-General has found Government cuts to the Defence Force caused substantial damage the Defence Force Chief said will take seven years to repair, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says.

“The Government’s attempts to cut costs in Defence caused record low morale and high attrition.

“Huge damage has been done to the Army where personnel attrition rates reached 24 per cent, and the Navy which reached 23 per cent attrition.

“The Auditor-General reports a lack of personnel in key sections of the Army has reduced preparedness from ‘substantially prepared’ to ‘partially prepared’.
“The report says there is now a risk around the Army’s ability to sustain a deployed force.

“Shortages in skilled and experienced personnel mean the Defence Force is unable to properly crew its ships and helicopters.
“The new offshore patrol vessel HMNZS Wellington ‘was unavailable for most of the year’ because of crewing constraints. Only four of the six patrol vessels could be put to sea.

“Limited numbers of trained crews and a shortage of instructor pilots meant the Air Force was unable to meet outputs and readiness measures for Naval Helicopter Forces.

“It is little wonder the outgoing Chief of the Defence Force Lieutenant General Rhys Jones told the Select Committee it would take seven years before the damage to the Defence Force was repaired and its strength was restored.
“Highly skilled people take years to train and the people who left the Defence Force in such large numbers from 2011 to 2013 can’t simply be replaced by new recruits.

“The Defence Minster needs to take responsibility for the damage his Government’s cuts have caused,” Phil Goff says.


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