Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Report - NZ Defence Force: The civilianisation project

Auditor-General's overview

New Zealand Defence Force: The civilianisation project.

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) carries out vital work in New Zealand and overseas and its staff are valued for their high standards of professionalism, training, and skill. The Defence White Paper 2010 highlighted the importance of getting value for money from the defence budget. It provided a framework for reform, and addressed financial issues in detail. In the paper, the then Minister of Defence highlighted the forecast gap between current defence spending and projected costs.

In September 2010, the Government told NZDF to reduce costs so that money could be redistributed within NZDF, primarily to the front.

Cabinet required NZDF to meet three conditions:

• save $350-400 million in annually recurring savings by 2014/15;

• enhance frontline capabilities and activities; and

• maintain specified outputs.

The civilianisation project was one of several projects that NZDF initiated to generate savings for redistribution. Initially, the redistribution programme represented 16-18% of the overall defence budget of $2.25 billion for the 2010/11 financial year.

To remain effective and be able to conform to government policy, NZDF designed the civilianisation project to change the balance of its workforce. It aimed to get a higher proportion of military staff in "front" (deployable military capability) positions compared to direct and indirect support positions.

In September 2010, NZDF committed to converting 1400 military positions in the "middle" (logistics and training) and "back" (administrative and similar functions) into civilian positions (civilianisation). This would save money and allow NZDF to improve the proportion of military staff in the front compared with the middle and back. NZDF planned to carry out the civilianisation project in three stages, converting several hundred positions at each stage.

However, when NZDF told the Government that it would convert 1400 military positions into civilian positions, it did so without knowing how many military positions it would need from 2015. NZDF had started a project to calculate how many and what kind of military staff it would need from 2015 but this work had not been completed. Once NZDF had completed the work at some time between December 2010 and March 2011, it found that:

• it needed more military staff overall; but

• some ranks and trades had surplus military staff.

I consider that NZDF should have found out how many and what kind of military staff it would need before telling the Government that it would convert 1400 military positions into civilian positions.

NZDF planned for the civilianisation project to save $20.5 million a year by 2014/15. My staff estimate that the civilianisation project will save $14.2 million a year by 2014/15. Therefore, savings are less than planned. Also, most of the savings from the civilianisation project are not from converting military positions to civilian positions. Despite this, NZDF has told us that it still expects to achieve the overall redistribution target of $350-400 million in annually recurring savings by 2014/15.

NZDF always intended to reduce the number of military staff through the civilianisation project but has lost far more military staff than intended. The loss of so many military staff (which can be attributed in part to the civilianisation project), has made it more difficult for NZDF to do its job.

Converting 1400 military positions into civilian positions would always be difficult. Discharging military staff has to be carried out with great care to avoid damaging the bonds of camaraderie, integrity, and commitment that are part of NZDF culture. Instead, NZDF chose a course that led to a drop in morale and an increase in attrition resulting in reduced capability. NZDF now needs to recover from the damage caused by the civilianisation project.

I consider that NZDF's decision to move quickly to put the civilianisation project into effect meant that it did not:

• fully consider the civilianisation project's potential effect on staff; and

• address the significant risks of the process.

My staff saw much evidence in reviews and in briefings to Cabinet and the Minister of Defence that NZDF recognises that it made mistakes during the civilianisation project. NZDF has decided that further conversion of military positions to civilian positions will, in general, take place gradually, as staff leave particular positions. NZDF has a focus on rebuilding morale and restoring mutual trust with military staff.

I commend NZDF's honesty and willingness to adapt in learning lessons from the civilianisation project.

I thank NZDF staff for their co-operation and help with our work auditing the civilianisation project.

Lyn Provost
Controller and Auditor-General

24 January 2013

ENDS

Report - PDF (1.20MiB, 28 pages) nzdfcivilianisationproject.pdf

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Patience: Drive Safe

Be patient before passing is the AA's message for drivers this Labour weekend.

"People taking crazy risks to get past other vehicles is one of the most dangerous things on the road,” says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“The weather is looking good for the long weekend so the roads will be busy. Unfortunately, that also increases the chances of people getting frustrated and trying a risky passing manoeuvre. When they get past, there will probably be more traffic up ahead anyway so it won’t get people there faster.” More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>

ALSO:

PM Of Many Hats: Questions, No Answers On Whale Oil

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news