New Zealand First says the Auditor-General’s report on the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) Civilianisation Project is a damning indictment on the failed defence policies of the National-led Government.
Associate Defence spokesperson Richard Prosser says the report highlights a number of failings created by the project stemming from the Government’s plans to slash funding from a defence budget which was already too small.
“The report notes the NZDF would need more military personnel from 2015, not fewer, at a time when the Government was asking them to cut spending by up to $400 million a year and convert 1400 military positions into civilian ones.
“The end result was a reduction in morale and the loss of skilled personnel across all three services.
“Attrition rates are reaching unsustainable levels, and the civilianisation project has proven to be such an abject failure that the Defence Force has unilaterally pulled the plug on it.”
Mr Prosser said that Defence was a core element of Government’s responsibility and required more funding.
“New Zealand First wants to see Defence spending brought back to a level equivalent in GDP terms to that of our key regional partners.
“We are not pulling our weight with the Australians and the Singaporeans, and this Government simply does not take this matter seriously enough.
“Critical capabilities need to be restored and people incentivised to remain if New Zealand is to retain a functional defence force,” says Mr Prosser.