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Defence Backdown Too Late to Reverse Damage

Defence Backdown Too Late to Reverse Damage

An embarrassing backdown by the Government on further budget cuts to the Defence Force comes too late to reverse the serious damage caused to our armed services, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says.

“The Government aimed to slash up to $400 million from the defence budget but has reduced that to $250 million.

“Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman’s backdown is an admission that significant damage has been done to our Defence Force.

“These cuts have led to the civilianisation of our forces, increased housing rentals and the downgrading of our Defence Force. It is currently facing historically high attrition rates, staff turnover of up to one in four, and morale has reached rock bottom.

“The cuts have stripped the Defence Forces of its most skilled and experience people. They cannot simply be replaced with new recruits.

“The Chief of the Defence Force, Lieutenant General Rhys Jones, was forced to acknowledge at a recent select committee meeting the cuts had affected its capability.

“Examples of that include the Navy not having the personnel to man both its onshore and offshore patrol vessels.

“Sadly such loss of capability will not be reversed by this backdown,” Phil Goff says.

ENDS

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