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Rebuilding the New Zealand Defence Force

A Labour Government will make it a priority to rebuild the capacity of the Defence Force to carry out the tasks expected of it, says Labour’s Defence Spokesperson Phil Goff.

Releasing Labour’s Defence Policy today he said the NZDF has stated that it could not guarantee being able to sustain an international peacekeeping operation beyond 12 months.

“From a situation where New Zealand in fact sustained continuously three major deployments – in Timor Leste, the Solomons and Afghanistan for more than nine years under Labour- this shows how badly the Defence Force capacity has been degraded.

“The massive drop in morale and record attrition rates in 2011/12 is still having its effect today. The last Chief of Defence Force admitted that it would take around seven years to rebuild capabilities,” he said.

“The National Government’s treatment of Defence Force personnel will take us in the opposite direction. In six years of this Government there has been just one general adjustment in the Defence Force wages.  As the Auditor- General noted in her report on the civilianisation process National has broken the social contract between Government and Defence Force personnel that it will treat them fairly. Uniformed personnel working for the Defence Force are not allowed union representation or to bargain for wages.  If the Government of the day does not treat them fairly their only option is to walk away.

‘Labour is proud of the work New Zealand Defence Force personnel have done internationally. We believe that the NZDF has a vital role to play and will ensure, as we did in Government, that it has the equipment and personnel to do what we expect of them.

“We will also respect our veterans and honour them by reversing National’s cutting of the recommendations of the Law Commission and the RSA that veterans are given the full benefits that go with a Veterans pension,” Phil Goff said.

To read more about Labour's Defence and Verterans' Affairs policy, click here.

Contact: Phil Goff 021 461 676

Authorised by Hon Phil Goff, Parliament Buildings, Wellington