The Defence Briefing to the Incoming Minister reveals a deteriorating state in Defence facilities that are no longer fit for purpose, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.
“The briefing is heavily censored but still reveals that Defence camps, bases and training areas are in a bad state of repair, and getting worse.
“After six years in Government National has not addressed deferred maintenance and already ‘dilapidated’ buildings are ‘increasingly unfit for purpose’.
“That raises questions of our Defence Force personnel being housed and working in poor conditions. It is also poor economics because the more assets deteriorate the more expensive they are to repair.
“National has had plenty of time to address the problem and has no-one to blame but itself after two terms in Government.
“The picture the briefing paints adds to the sorry track record of National forcing the Defence Force to accept cuts, and to lose capability.
“That track record includes:
- Slashing regular forces by over 1000
- Morale plummeting amidst cuts and civilianisation and record attrition rates, reaching 23 per cent in 2011
- Cuts in annual spending of up to $350 million a year
- Defence Force personnel going five years without a pay rise, until just before the election
- Defence Force capability to deploy overseas for more than a year in doubt, according to Defence itself
“This Government has undervalued the men and women who serve in the Defence Force and who are called on to put themselves in harm’s way for their country,” Phil Goff said.