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Defence morale will plummet as reviews stack up

A further review of the Defence Estate is an admission by this Government that it has mismanaged its spending and is having to kick an extremely important issue down the road for another day, National’s Defence spokesperson Mark Mitchell says.

“Defence Estate spending isn’t sexy or popular, but it’s long overdue and is very important for the health, safety and effectiveness of the almost 15,000 members of our Defence Force.

“While this Government has sat on its hands for the last 20 months awaiting four reviews into Defence policy, procurement and capabilities, our Defence Estate has languished.

“This Government inherited a $1.5 billion Defence Estate Regeneration Plan that National would have started to implement in the 2018 Budget.

“What needs to be fixed or redeveloped is known in extremely granular detail already, so this review is nothing but a costly timewasting exercise.

“Defence Force morale was at an all-time high and attrition rates were at an all-time low under National because we took Defence seriously. Both will suffer if real spending on bringing the Defence Estate up to standard doesn’t begin in earnest very soon.

“Defence Minister Ron Mark has said it is his ‘mission to have Estate Regeneration in a positive, future-proofed position before the end of this term of Government’, but we are yet to see any real movement to achieve this goal.

“Unfortunately it looks like Mr Mark hasn’t been able to hold the sway necessary with his Cabinet colleagues to get this vitally important investment programme underway.

“How embarrassing that they’ve fobbed him off with another expensive working group.”

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