308 uniformed Defence jobs gone

By Paul Harper

Photo / file
Photo / file

The Defence Force will today tell 308 military personnel they are no longer required in uniform.

The positions are being "civilianised", meaning they will be turned into non-uniformed positions.

Defence says the affected positions include drivers, instructors, photographers, logistics and administrative personnel.

Today's 308 jobs are the first tranche of about 1000 that will be axed.

The loss of the 81 officers and 227 in other rankswas announced this morning. The cuts include 71 of 2119 from the navy, 155 of 4920 from the army and 82 of 2579 from the air force.

The cuts are the first of a series intended to remove 1000 uniformed personnel and replace them with 500 civilian staff.

A similar exercise is expected later in the year.

The ``rebalancing'' -- replacing uniformed roles with civilians -- is part of the process to implement the Total Defence Workforce approach set out in the Government's Defence White Paper released late last year.

Military personnel who are being released will be strongly encouraged to apply for the new roles.

Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Rhys Jones said the cuts are part of the Total Defence Workforce approach set out in the Government's Defence White Paper released late last year.

"To be an agile and responsive Defence Force we need to ensure we have the right people with the right skills in the right role," Mr Jones said.

"Since the release of the Defence White Paper we have determined which roles need to be performed by military people with military training, skills and experience, and which can be performed by civilians.

"We have also determined the numbers of military personnel we need across our ranks, trades, and branches in order to meet our current and future operational requirements."

Mr Jones said while those who registered their interest in applying for civilian positions will welcome the decision, it is a "difficult day" for the Defence Force.

"We have a robust support and retraining process in place on each camp and base to help these people make the transition from military to civilian life."

He said career managers, chaplains and psychologists will be on hand at each camp today for those requiring their services.

To date the Defence Force has identified about 280 military roles that are to be civilianised.

By the end of the year, through this process as well as natural attrition, there are expected to be around 500 fewer military personnel.

Mr Jones said these decisions will affect less than five per cent of total military personnel.

"The New Zealand Defence Force has over 9300 military personnel who remain ready and able to meet operational requirements both here and overseas."

- with NZPA

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