Early signs New Zealand Defense Force attrition slowing, chiefs say
PHOTO CAPTION: Illustrative photo — A New Zealand defense force member, with Task Group Taji’s quick reaction force, provides security for bounding teammates during a combined forces live fire exercise at Camp Taji, Iraq, Aug., 10, 2018. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Audrey Ward via U.S. Defense Visual Information Distribution Service)
WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Historically high levels of attrition in New Zealand's Defence Force may be slowing as new cash pumped in to the Force delays resignations, New Zealand Defence Forces chiefs said on Thursday.
The New Zealand Defence Force has seen attrition of roughly 30% of trained staff over the passed two years, which has forced it to idle three ships and retire the fleet of P-3 Orion aircrafts early.
Defence Minister Andrew Little said he had been advised that some resignations had been withdrawn and the number of resignations being submitted had fallen as a result of a bonus todefence force staff at the start of the year and news that salaries would increase from July,
"It’s at least having that benefit," Little told a parliamentary committee.
Defence force attrition comes at a time when the service is increasingly being called upon with New Zealand sending a contingent to the United Kingdom to help with the training of Ukrainian forces and the defence force needing to respond to climate change disasters.
Increasing geopolitical competition in the Pacific between China and the United States and its allies is putting a spotlight on the military.
The New Zealand government announced in May that the government would increase theDefence Force’s budget over four years by NZ$748 million, more than half was earmarked to boost the salaries of defence force personnel.
Chief of Defence Force Air Marshal Kevin Short told the committee while there were signs that attrition was slowing, many personnel were waiting for the release of the new defence force pay scale to see whether they would remain in the force and more data was needed before he could say the situation was improving.
He added that the Defence Force has also undertaken a number of recruitment campaigns including reaching out to reservists but were yet unsure how successful these had been.
(Reporting by Lucy Craymer; Editing by Michael Perry)