Ensuring fair pay for our defence forces

Labour will task the Remuneration Authority to independently set fair pay rates and allowances for uniformed defence personnel, Labour Defence Spokesperson Andrew Little says.

“Kiwis rely on the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) to be there when we need them.

“Our soldiers, sailors and aviators work in difficult and dangerous conditions to keep us safe. From Cyclone Gabrielle and extreme weather events here and in the Pacific, to peacekeeping around the world, our defence personnel deserve fair pay,” Andrew Little said.

The unique nature of military service means commissioned and enlisted defence personnel do not have the same rights to negotiate their pay and conditions as other employees.

“This year the Labour Government delivered the largest pay rise for NZDF personnel in a decade. New recruits and skilled lower ranked service personnel received increases of between $4,000 and $15,000.

“The Remuneration Authority currently sets pay rates for the chiefs of the Defence Force, Air Force, Army and Navy.

“A re-elected Labour Government will expand the Remuneration Authority’s remit to include every commissioned and enlisted NZDF service person.

“It’s only fair the independent mechanism should be extended to all defence personnel. Regular and fair binding determinations by the Remuneration Authority will put an end to the historical practice of NZDF pay lurching between catch-up then stagnation for years at a time.

“Our policy means NZDF personnel will have independent assurance that their pay and allowances are fair and comparable to similar roles in the public and private sectors. It is one way we will restore the value and meaning of military service.

“Labour also takes our responsibilities to properly equip defence personnel to get on with the job seriously. We have rebuilt the NZDF after National relentlessly ran it down.

“Labour’s $4.7 billion capital investment over six years is double what National did in nine. Our defence forces now has new Poseidon aircraft, upgraded frigates and a new vessel protecting our seas, a new Bushmaster vehicle fleet, and new Super Hercules aircraft on the way.

“A re-elected Labour Government will also undertake the first comprehensive review of the Defence Act 1990 in over 30 years. This will ensure the legislation meets the expectations for today’s society, and is fit for the challenges of tomorrow.

“New Zealand needs a modern, well equipped and fairly paid defence force to respond to climate change and geostrategic challenges. Only Labour has the record of committing the investments required to protect New Zealand. A change of government would put that at risk,” Andrew Little said.

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