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Women in Defence Force going backwards under National

A Defence Force review backs up Labour’s claims that under National women have gone backwards in the military, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson, Phil Goff.

“In the last five years representation of women in each of the services has fallen - by 20 per cent in the Army, 18 per cent in the Air Force and 13 per cent in the Navy. This absolutely contradicts Jonathan Coleman’s bluster last year that Labour’s figures and claims about falling representation were wrong.

“Having fewer women in the military has huge costs. I know from visits to deployments in East Timor, the Solomons and Bamyan how valuable our Defence Force women were in the work New Zealand military did in those areas. They communicated easily with local women and were role models in areas where, too often, women were second class citizens.

“The higher rates of attrition by women represent a costly waste of investment, as is attrition as a whole which costs the NZDF $100 million a year.

“The Defence Force acknowledges the real value of a diverse defence force which can benefit from the different backgrounds, experiences and world views that women bring.

“The other major concern in the review is a reported rate of bullying of women in the forces.

“It’s time the Minister pulled his head out of the sand, recognises, and acts on these concerns.

“He should immediately implement the report’s recommendations instead of denying that the problems exist as he did last year”, Phil Goff said.

ENDS

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