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Broader Recruit Training Advocated

Defence Force recruits should be exposed to a broader training regime, including training in civil defence, ambulance work and fire fighting, according to majority on the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee’s in the final report on “Defence Beyond 2000.”

The report emphasises the Defence Force’s role as a trainer of young people for a wide range of tasks and re-iterated the Interim Report observation that unemployment was a greater security threat for New Zealanders than any overseas threat.

The Interim Report, released last November, argued against the traditional approach of recruiting young people into either the Navy, Army or Air Force preferring that all recruits be trained together rather than in individual services and be streamed into the Navy, Army or Air Force after basic training.

The Final Report suggests the traditional method is unnecessarily expensive. In 1997-98, expenditure by the three services competing in the same market worked out at around $5000 per recruit.

Last February the Government said that “during basic training, recruits are introduced to the ethos of military service and are socialised into the culture of their chosen services.”

But the Committee majority noted that the result was a high waste amongst recruits.

“We recognise that not all recruits will make the grade, but this has always been so,” said the report. “A larger intake of recruits would extract greater value from the Defence Forces’ existing training assets, and have some impact on unemployment.”

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