Not enough sailors for navy to go to sea
Thu, 28 Jun 2012 6:08p.m.
By Patrick Gower
Farewells are all part of navy life, but now it's the sailors themselves leaving the service.
Chief of Defence Rhys Jones has been forced to admit it has got so bad, his fleet is kept dockside at times.
The Defence Force is now left with 13,667 total personnel after the departure of 910 in the past two years. And an internal defence survey released today shows that 5446 people “intend to leave.”
“Morale is so low and attrition is so high that we don't have enough people to crew our inshore patrol vessels – that is a very, very sad indictment,” says Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway.
And more than anyone, it has been sailors who have been leaving - mainly to go underground in Australian mines. Mining recruiters have even set up outside the Devonport naval base.
“I don't have exact details but they are in the Devonport area,” says Mr Jones.
It’s all because of a four-year pay freeze and hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts - with more to come.
But the Government says don't worry - everything will be ok.
“I don't think anyone is denying there are issues but they are meeting what the Defence Force demands of them,” says Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman.
The armed forces are the latest victim of the Government's zero budgets, with the Chief of Defence admitting it now has what he termed "depth of capability issues".
While it could handle a disaster in the Pacific it would be under strain if it had to sustain another East Timor-type deployment.
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31/07/2012 8:08:26 p.m.
There are other ways to reward soldiers/sailers for their work and dedication when pay rises aren't achievable. Re-assessing Stand-down for weekends would be a start. Why should we be made to work a full weekend (often 12-16 hour days) only to get 1 day back for the 2 worked.
11/07/2012 6:10:33 p.m.
mr holmes wrote:
in the first world war you had a 30% chance of getting shot with today's weapons its a 63% chance of getting shot . to go to war has become little more than suicide . its time they sent the world political leaders let them go to war and fight for once . war today is only about money and oil and land not great ideals .i support our men their because i know in Afghanistan etc they are tight in the middle of hell not of their own doing .let Obama and john key go fight .in world war 2 we fought against pure evil and today its oil and money .
6/07/2012 7:27:15 p.m.
We have the largest international waters per capita. The biggest dairy producers per capita. Yet it costs more to purchase seafood and meat produce in our own country than it does overseas.... WTF!!!
3/07/2012 2:46:25 p.m.
@ king of the baggies, Couldn't have written that any better. ONWARD
2/07/2012 8:27:44 p.m.
King of the Baggies wrote:
@"bommer2/1" aka Zayne. You've never gotten over being left out of the Bosnia trip, have you? Where to start with your blatant falsehoods.An RF Infantry Battalion doesn't have an established strength of 800-1000 men. More like 560.There is no discomfort for any one not of Maori descent. Unless you're a white suprematist...Cpl Apiatas VC was not awarded to 'bump a units numbers up'.I could go on pointing out the glaring factual inaccuracies but that's enough to illuminate your ignorance.You didn't serve in the army long enough nor reach a rank significant enough to "see senior leadership up close" or "tell senior leadership for years what the 'solution' is". You couldn't be more out of touch if you tried Zayne. Mateparae had nothing to do with most of what you accuse him of, as an example he'd only just finished as CO 1RNZIR when the POE role was disestablished from 2/1. Go back accusing Cpl Apiata VC of being a thief and druggie on internet military forums.You should seek professional help to deal with that inordinate level of hatred you carry for Officers, Maori, 1 NZSAS Grp, Maori, Jerry Mateparae, Willie Apiata, Maori, OCS, etc.Finally, your remark about the O'Donnell contact; insinuating that Corporal Albert Moore, Lance Corporal Allistair Baker, and Corporal Matthew Ball where awarded gallantry decorations for any reason other than their bravery in that incident is highly offensive and insulting. That remark, that slanderous filth, if nothing else clearly indicates the level of hatred you hold for the NZ Army. Little wonder your career was so short and unspectacular.
2/07/2012 12:56:17 p.m.
BOMMER 2/1 RNZIR wrote:
My God if each Infantry Battalions manning is at only around 280 Pers its in way more trouble than when I was in a full strength Battalion should have on its manned strength 800 to 1000 soldiers there is 30 soldiers in a platoon and three platoons to a company and eight companies in a Battalion, that is almost critical manning. I did notice the last time a unit got close to critical manning they awarded a VC to try and bump the numbers of that unit up, I see just recently they have done the same to the soldiers who were in the contact Lt Tim O'Donnel was in, The top brass have the total wrong thoughts on how to improve Morale they always time after time do the exact wrong thing every time without fail, if good soldiers are led my inept idiots if they have half a brain they will leave, now if Officers inspire and lead their men from the front and not think they are special soldiers will want to stay and be led by these Officer, no chance of that happening any time soon. This is proved by the over 5.000 Defence soldiers, sailors and Airmen wanting to pull the pin and 717 out of the 13.400 pers who are in the NZDF. A big problem is that the OCS thinks they can teach leadership and in point of fact you either have leadership qualities or you don't its just that simple there are people in there at the moment who should not be in charge of themselves let alone other soldiers point at hand the Royal New Zealand Artillery Corps for years/Decades the attrition rates of this organization has been massive and its all down to the fact they treat their Gunners like Crap and they get away with it year after year. The only way this will stop is if there is a independent body set up like a Servicepersons Union who actually has the power to change things ....but that will never happen its like the Members of Parliament agreeing to Binding Referendums
2/07/2012 1:03:48 a.m.
Gordon Gekko wrote:
Good comments below. I'd add, - taxation (almost exclusively) needs to go to just 4 core areas, police, defence, education, health. The rest of what government wants to spend our money on is secondary.
Now, some reading this may say, what about "welfare".. ok so lets discuss welfare.
(a) lets put welfare back to what it should be, a saftey net only while people are getting back on their feet, should be capped at 6 months, thats plenty of time to get a job, get yourself sorted.
(b) no problem the state looking after the terminally impaired that cant work (but that comes under the health budget)
(c) Pension adjusted to an age that works for both government budgets and fair for workers, 67 seems to be the correct balance at this point giving the longer life spans and number of aging people.
That in a nutshell is WHY things are going pear shaped in NZ, you guy in the NZDF are just a sub set of disifranchised (yeah throwing some of your own terms back at you liberal lefties) people getting a bad employment deal because government continues to try to be father Xmas to all and everyone in our fair land.
Just leave, go to Aus, make your dosh, stake your claim in this world, nobody in NZ is going to provide the same opportunities in NZ that you can get in other parts of the world.
I made my money in London in 90's and 00's, I returned to NZ on 7 occasions over that period for a year at a time, but always felt I could'nt afford to live in NZ, poor pay, high costs. Now, approaching 50 I feel I can finally afford to live here after 22 years away.
30/06/2012 7:31:15 p.m.
King of the Baggies wrote:
The current morale issue in the NZDF stems directly from the lack of a formal structure or apparatus to uphold the rights of NZDF personnel.
As per New Zealand Defence Force Orders (DFO);
"NZDF personnel are subject to laws and conditions that preclude them from being covered by the NZ legislation governing employment rights. And are subject to a legal framework that is designed to maintain the cohesion and structure of the group, as opposed to upholding the rights of an individual (Reference: A. DFO8/08 (DRAFT) para 3, sub para b)."
There is no other group of New Zealanders who abrogate their rights in such a way in order to serve their country.
Witness the squealing from MFAT diplomats when the government attempted to trim their exorbitant allowances and perks. The conceited outrage at the threat to their carefully guarded ‘grovers’ runs and free education, housekeeping, security, etc, etc whilst posted overseas.
Compare that to the lot of the soldier living in substandard conditions and high threat environments for months at a time.
Until NZDF personnel are supported by either an advocacy group akin to the Police Association or have something along the lines of the ‘Military Covenant’ as drafted by the British Army enshrined in legislation they will continue to suffer at the whim of poor leaders and ignorant government departments (treasury) and politicians and as a consequence morale will suffer and attrition will remain high.
You feel the NZDF is a waste of time and money? Ask the population of Christchurch who they saw more of and who assisted them the most in the immediate aftermath of the quake.
The NZDF is an insurance policy for the nation. God alone will help us if we continue to skimp on the morale investment that a functioning and effective NZDF incurs.
30/06/2012 7:22:46 p.m.
Robert W wrote:
@ ROBERT M and BOMMER 2/1 RNZIR, my former Regiment, well articulated.
Unfortunately this has been coming for years, and its not just NZ, its a worldwide trend, even in the States.
I dont think its fair to blame senior staff for whats happening, they are only doing what they are told to do by Government
Godbless New Zealand
30/06/2012 4:05:23 p.m.
Have read some of the comments and from a current serving service person some is correct however much isn't. In the statement they say there would be serious issues if deployed on an op like ET, serious isn't even close, the current battalions in both the north and south islands are so undermanned they have a bit over a quarter of the numbers required to be a battalion being roughly 280 personnel actually in positions instead of the 800 required.
Its not so much about the pay but the need to feel as a soldier, sailor or airperson you are valued and the job you are doing is worth while and at the same time satisfying, if these are not met then pay is whats put out there as a means to make up for the above.
All that the last 18+ months have done is shown that higher levels of command are inept in regards to valuing the work that most NZDF pers in uniform are doing esp for those who have served in overseas deployments while leaving their families at home and while they often put their lives in serious risk. Ofcourse they signed up for this but again this is also a balance that higher command have responsibility to ensure personnel are valued which makes the deployments somewhat easier to be on.
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