The Defence Force installed CCTV cameras in recruit barracks as part of its effort to stamp out sexual harassment by instructors, an official report stated.

The CCTV cameras were installed in 2015 during a Ministry of Defence review in recruit training by the NZ Defence Force.

The review identified a range of improvements needed at The Army Depot at Waiouru Military Camp and described recruit training as a "risk" area for all militaries.

Last month, Major General Peter Kelly took swift action to remove a combination of officers and non-commissioned officers in the command structure at The Army Depot, which trains almost half the NZ Army recruits.


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Two members of The Army Depot's leadership team were replaced and five others removed from their duties as instructors because of "a number of offences and significant shortcomings".

Since then, another non-commissioned officer has been removed from his role after the new leadership found unresolved issues around a rape complaint.

The Ministry of Defence review painted a different picture in 2015, saying no women had reported inappropriate sexual behaviour.

It did warn that recruit training was a high-risk area for all militaries because it involved young people under the sway of senior instructors.

Largely, though, there was a perception that recruits were at risk from "bad apples" who
should never have become instructors.

But the Ministry of Defence said the risk and concerns actually went wider.

There was also concern about consensual sexual activity that began during training but did not emerge until later.


That had prompted concern and previously been raised in court martial proceedings because of concerns around a recruits ability to properly consent "without fear of retribution".

It recommended - and it is understood introduced - specific orders banning contact between instructors and recruits.

In reviewing the past decade of "offending" by instructors, it said: "A clear pattern emerged that a few instructors had taken advantage of the lack of supervision, particularly while they were on duty in the barracks after hours."

During the review, it said "the army installed CCTV cameras in the barracks to deter abuse".

It also found that at the time - three years ago - leaders at The Army Depot had acted "quickly and decisively" to remove instructors who were accused of harassment or bullying. Command actions included calling on military or civilian police when justified.

Concerns were raised about the quality of training for instructors, and also raised issue with the number of "experienced mentors in the training environment to develop the instructional staff".

It found a rapid decline in the number of senior NCOs - sergeants and staff sergeants - posted to The Army Depot between 2008-2013.

That same period saw NZDF having to meet ongoing, demanding deployments to Afghanistan and suffer a leap in senior staff leaving during the "civilianisation" project, which was later criticised by the Auditor-General.

The review also said most instructors at The Army Depot did good jobs and produced quality recruits.

The review also recommended regular reviews of recruit programmes, saying the MInistry would "conduct a systems check review of recruit training in 24 months to assess progress".

A NZDF spokesman said yesterday part of the new command team's job was to check how many recommendations had been followed through on.

The review was published the year before NZDF launched Operation Respect, which aimed to stamp out unwanted sexual behaviour across the services.

Defence minister Ron Mark has said there is no place of aberrant sexual behaviour in the services.