Defence force personnel are quitting the country for Australia, as morale plummets.

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman has revealed to a select committee that morale in the military is at an all time low of just 35 per cent.

There are 1000 fewer people in the defence forces than a year ago and Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway is putting it down to the increased number of civilians doing jobs.

He says the Australian Defence Force is making enticing offerings to New Zealand personnel, as is the mining industry.

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"It's very difficult for the defence force to compete with the wage rates that are on offer in Australia."