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Sergeant Major Role Should Not Be Dissolved

New Zealand First Defence spokesperson Ron Mark today said he cannot support the ill-considered proposal to abolish the rank of Sergeant Major.

Defence Minister Max Bradford circulated a submission from the Chief of Defence Force requesting approval to the inclusion of a series of amendments to the Armed Forces Discipline Act, 1971, and Defence Act, 1990, in this year’s Statutes Amendment Bill.

“There appears to have been very little thought behind this move to abolish Sergeants Major and replace them with just one rank of warrant officer. I am informed by the Minister that this was decided after only an oral planning session between the Minister and the Chief of General Staff.

“I have seen nothing from the office of Max Bradford, the Chief of Army General Staff, or the Chief of the Defence Force that in any way indicates how a Sergeant Major’s responsibilities would be redefined.

“The rank of Sergeant Major has a long and distinguished history in the Army. Warrant officers have traditionally been responsible for the education and guidance of junior officers.

“As an ex-servicemen who has seen the calibre of New Zealand’s excellent Sergeant Majors, this amendment seems disturbingly to have more to do with a bean counting exercise than the preparation of our soldiers for war”, said Mr Mark.

“If the Minister wants to slash numbers, he should start at the top”.


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