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Minister welcomes NZDF approach to address culture

Hon Gerry Brownlee
Minister of Defence

15 March 2016 Media Statement

Minister welcomes NZDF approach to address culture

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee has welcomed the work the New Zealand Defence Force has been doing since 2014 to ensure a safe and healthy culture across the forces.

Mr Brownlee responded to today’s launch by the Defence Force of Operation Respect, which is the culmination of two years of effort to tackle inappropriate and harmful sexual behaviours.

“As a large and diverse organisation, the Defence Force has a number of challenges, and it is good to see the NZDF address these head-on with a campaign like Operation Respect,” Mr Brownlee says.

Mr Brownlee noted that the Operation Respect action plan contains a number of worthwhile initiatives.

Six key actions under the action plan will address a number of areas covering training, enforcement, behaviour, assistance to victims, as well as recruitment of more women into the services.

The Minister noted that the road to the launch of Operation Respect has been a long one, starting with the review launched in 2014 by the Ministry of Defence into maximising the role of women in the NZDF.

“In recent years, both here and internationally, large organisations have confronted and responded to the challenge of preventing sexual assaults in the work place and creating a positive environment for all employees,” Mr Brownlee says.

“This has included major pieces of work in the Australian and Canadian Defence Forces and the New Zealand Police.

“All these reviews and resulting plans have informed NZDF in the development of Operation Respect.

“I support the Defence Force leadership in the initiatives they are undertaking,” Mr Brownlee says.

ENDS

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