Soldiers Need Their Rights Defended
New Zealand First has called for a professional association to be set up to defend the rights and conditions of service for New Zealand Defence personnel.
Defence Spokesperson Ron Mark said that for too long our men and women on the ground have been at the mercy of imposed conditions.
“The embarrassment New Zealand has suffered over East Timor allowances would not have happened if our soldiers were professionally represented and the Defence Force was aware of what other countries pay their soldiers,” said Mr Mark.
“Our Defence personnel are facing a diminution of respect, resources, and mana. It is no longer acceptable for the terms and conditions of our service personnel to be at the mercy of political fancy. They deserve professional arbitrators. A Defence Association, modelled on the Police Association, would ensure the wants, needs and aspirations of Defence personnel were heard, and would also promote and demand the maintenance of professional standards.
“It is time our service men and women were given the recognition for serving our country that is long overdue to them.
“As Minister of Defence I would see it as my duty to ensure that such a professional organisation was established within the first year of governance”, said Mr Mark.