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Government admits Defence cuts a disaster

Phil
GOFF

Defence Spokesperson
29 April 2014 MEDIA STATEMENT

Government admits Defence cuts a disaster

New funding for the Defence Force of $535 million over four years is a belated and inadequate acknowledgement by the Government that its cost cutting in the armed services was an utter failure, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says.

“Today’s pre-Budget announcement shows the Government has been forced to admit the damage it has done in Defence. Minister Jonathan Coleman’s cuts have put our Defence Force at risk and seriously undermined our armed services.

“Funding of about $134 million a year is less than half the amount the Government sought to cut from the Defence Force with its cost cutting target of $350 million a year.

“The Government was forced to put its plan on hold when the Defence Force itself refused to continue civilianising 1400 positions. This disastrous policy led to soaring attrition rates of up to 24 per cent in the Army alone, the Navy unable to crew its ships and a damming report by the Auditor General.

“What we are seeing now is too little too late. This new funding will repair only a fraction of the damage National has done to our Defence Force.

“Jonathan Coleman said last year further cuts could be delayed for up to two years because they could jeopardise operations.

“This new funding shows the minister has now been forced to scrap his policy altogether.

“This is a huge embarrassment for Jonathan Coleman and the Government.

“Men and women in the Defence Force deserve better from their Government than what National done to them,” Phil Goff says.

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