Six people have been cleared of improper behaviour towards NZ Army recruits - including a claim of assault - as it emerges the number facing questions has grown to 10 personnel.

NZDF today revealed that the allegations against those at The Army Depot included an allegation an officer had assaulted a recruit.

An investigation into the officer led to a charge of common assault.

The subsequent trial resulted in a not guilty verdict.


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A statement from the NZ Defence Force today said the case of the officer was one of six investigations to be completed after personnel were stood down in July.

There was an ongoing investigation into four non-commissioned officers.

It also stated that the inquiry had grown to include others who had previously been based at The Army Depot then posted elsewhere. It had also led to the investigation against the officer accused of assault.

Two members of the leadership team at The Army Depot - NZDF's training base at Waiouru - were among those stood down at the time.

Five other instructors were also stood down with questions, including whether there was inappropriate sexual contact with recruits.

The Army Depot standing orders forbid instructors from forming physical relationships with recruits.

NZDF's statement today said: "Military Police investigations into five non-commissioned officers regarding alleged inappropriate relationships with recruits has cleared these individuals of any wrongdoing.

NZDF patrol in Bamyan Afghanistan. The Army Depot provided basic training for NZ Army recruits. Photo / Supplied
NZDF patrol in Bamyan Afghanistan. The Army Depot provided basic training for NZ Army recruits. Photo / Supplied

"The instructors cleared of wrongdoing have now resumed normal duties, within The Army Depot and at other units within the NZDF.

"Investigations into the behaviour of the four other non-commissioned officers are ongoing."

Chief of Army Major General John Boswell issued a statement to troops which said: "I am pleased that those instructors who were stood down can now, following robust investigation, move forward in their respective careers.

"I want to reiterate the importance of maintaining the highest levels of conduct at all times across our whole Army, particularly in those areas in which there is an imbalance of power between instructors and students because of rank and experience.

"Wherever we see behaviour that does not meet our expectations we will act, every time."

Defence minister Ron Mark said at the time he had met with the chief of Defence Force and chief of Army on the issue.


"In this day and age with this Government I expect the highest standard. This behaviour, this conduct is not going to be tolerated.

Defence Minister Ron Mark. Photo / Supplied
Defence Minister Ron Mark. Photo / Supplied

"It's unacceptable and by military standards it's actually illegal."

A 2015 evaluation report by the Ministry of Defence into NZDF's recruit programmes made specific recommendations about recruit safety, including the rewriting of the Defence Force order which prohibits personal relationships.

The recommendation said the Defence Force order which "prohibits close personnel relationships in a training environment" needed to be rewritten "to adequately manage stand-alone or intermittent acts of inappropriate behaviour or attempts to conduct such behaviour".

The Ministry of Defence report intro recruit training found "there is no tolerance for harassment, bullying or discrimination in a positive learning environment".

However, an anonymous survey found 3 per cent of recruits reported "sexually inappropriate behaviour or language from instructors".


While noting "zero tolerance", the report stated it was "a very low percentage overall".

"We observed that commanders act quickly to remove any instructors who were suspected of being sexually or physically inappropriate with recruits."