NZDF world's most LGBT friendly

Members of NZ Defence Forces' Overwatch at the 'Pride in Defence Conference'. Photo / NZDF
Members of NZ Defence Forces' Overwatch at the 'Pride in Defence Conference'. Photo / NZDF

The New Zealand Defence Force has been ranked number one in an international study assessing the integration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members in armed forces.

The LGBT Military Index was compiled by Netherlands thinktank the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies.

New Zealand Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Tim Keating said the ranking came as a pleasant surprise.

"We are an equal opportunity employer and we have always valued the diversity of our workforce.

"The NZDF values diversity and recognises the benefits to the organisation of having a diverse and inclusive workplace."

The diversity of the Defence Force reflected the composition of New Zealand society as well as the openness and respect that New Zealanders have for people of different backgrounds, General Keating said.

"We believe that a diverse workplace promotes equity and enhances productivity. Having an inclusive environment that embraces people's individual differences provides opportunities for our personnel to achieve their full potential."

Last year, 10 uniformed members of the NZDF and 15 civilian members of Defence Force LGBT group Overwatch marched in the Auckland Pride Parade.

They were publicly supported by the then Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Rhys Jones.

This year's Auckland Pride Festival ends this weekend with the Pride Parade on Ponsonby Rd and closing party at Victoria Park tomorrow.

- APNZ

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