Defence Force compromised after changes
Wed, 30 Jan 2013 6:27p.m.
By Tova O'Brien
The auditor-general has found the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) mishandled its civilianisation project - compromising the organisation's ability to do its job.
Government-enforced savings meant the NZDF had to find savings of hundreds of millions of dollars, which the force admits it didn't handle as well as it could.
When the Government demanded the NZDF make hundreds of millions of dollars of savings, it promptly set out to civilianise 1400 roles, but admits it jumped the gun.
“Our advice to the Government was whole," NZDF chief Lieutenant General Rhys Jones says. "There is a tolerance to this and we'd rather do it in slow bites. But the reality was we had to move ahead because each year we had to save round about $100 million."
In a report into the civilianisation project, the auditor-general says “discharging military staff has to be carried out with great care to avoid damaging camaraderie, integrity, and commitment”.
But instead, the NZDF chose a course that led to a drop in morale and an increase in attrition.
Labour MP Phil Goff does not approve.
“They have gutted the Defence Force. They have slashed the numbers by 1000. They've failed to give a pay rise for more than four years and then they wonder why one in five members of the Defence Force are leaving each year.”
Most of the losses came from the Navy, which has been forced to dock its fleet at times because there just aren't enough sailors.
The report says the compromises don't end there, with the loss of so many military staff making it more difficult for the NZDF to do its job.
Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman insists the Government’s demands for savings were reasonable.
“They're confident they're meeting those targets and they are meeting those targets, which is the important thing.”
But according to the auditor-general, the savings made from civilianisation fall short. It has lead to changes within the NZDF, though. Any future plans to civilianise won't be so hasty.
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31/01/2013 4:12:32 p.m.
Robert i couldnt agree more if new zealand upgraded its equipment instead of retrofitting 50 year old ships/aircraft we woudl save ALOT of money
31/01/2013 12:34:14 p.m.
NZDF is under funded and constantly getting cuts ITS NOT labour or Nationals fault its both of them who started it dosnt ****ing matter what they should do is give the NZDF some funding back as well as get our airforce off the ground in planes that where made during my life time...
31/01/2013 11:16:37 a.m.
Robert M wrote:
It the inevitable consequence of the interfering Act Party notably in the Dereck Quigley dominated committee of the late 1990s and later in the Heather Roy period of Private Benjamin as the 'Deputy Minister of Defence'. They attempt to introduce market discipline to defence, which is a field the needs and future logistic and manpower requirements are not terribly predicatable and also the aim of Roy and Act was to destroy any real independent defence capability. Act were essentially a pacifist communist front attempting to gain brownie points by being staunch of a few trade and defence and nuclear issues that didn't cost money. The restrictions on the Navy in terms of its lifeblood of oil fuel and finance have been absolutely crippling. Interviewed last night on Garner (Radio Live) former Minister of Defence and Foreign Affairs Phil Goff suggested that it was a disaster that the Inshore Patrol vessels are laid up. Despite what Goff says the Inshore vessels are of limited value where if a third OPV like Otago and Wellington had been built it would have combined defence and fishery protection value. Resource and fish disputes are rarely just about fish. The Cod Wars in 1973 and 1976 were an opporunity for an essentially Communist Icelandic Governmnet to divert, ram and cripple as many Royal Navy frigates and radar pickets as possible and they managed to damage the Royal navy sufficiently to reduce its operational frigate by a third for two years. THerefore RN OPVs were built as essentially disguised third world war corvettes- and Sea Shepherd uses the ex Scottish derivates 'Steve Irwin' to effect. Goff suggested saving $400 million by abandoning new a'a missiles for the Anzac frigates, a more effectiv economy would be to replace the frigates with 2 or 3 new Dutch OPVs like Holland And Zealand which could incorporate new 76mm guns, some of the most advanced air and surface scanning radars on earth , CIWS and operate the new NH90 without our dockyard doing a refit
31/01/2013 9:44:06 a.m.
@David and Philip grow up and stop blaming labour for something National themselves have done.
Both buggered the defence force... deal with the reality and stop living in wonderland.
31/01/2013 6:56:38 a.m.
Big difference putting planes on hold to completely gutting personal @ phillip and David.
31/01/2013 12:09:28 a.m.
So David, if a blind man walks into oncomin traffic the sighted person who sees him do it should follow him.
Arent you simply making the idiot statement if Labour can screw things up then so can National?.
Brilliantly... stupid logic.
30/01/2013 10:05:41 p.m.
Phil Goff Can't talk he help gut the NZDF when he scraped the Fighters back in 01!
30/01/2013 8:28:22 p.m.
I doubt they will every meet the money target, and saying they were reasonable targets is stupid. A Min Of Defence who doesn't under stand personnel (HR), and thought everything went well. Out of his depth as MOD
30/01/2013 7:24:09 p.m.
It's somewhat rich for Goff to say that National is gutting the defense force when it was his government that decided to do away with the air combat wing in the first place.
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