Defence Force move a 'kick in the guts' for Porirua

Porirua mayor Nick Leggett has called a New Zealand Defence Force plan to leave its Porirua office base a ''kick in the guts for the city''.

The organisation plans to consolidate its Wellington staff to the central city, with the first personnel relocating later this year.

''In a relatively small CBD [the shift of] 250 jobs, it's going to have a massive effect on retail [and] on business support,'' Mr Leggett said.

''I'm incredibly concerned.''

The building, home to the organisation for 30 years, already met the Defence Force's high-specification needs, he said.

''The government are keen to spread back-office and support services for government departments around the region and the country.

''Porirua is a low-cost location, with a skilled workforce.''

The news comes shortly after Auditor-General Lyn Provost issued a highly critical report about Defence Force cuts.

''They've stuffed up the whole process of trying to save money - and in my opinion this is just going to be another example of that,'' Mr Legget said.

Mana electorate MP Kris Faafoi said he was appalled by the move.

''News of the departure certainly feels like an assault on Porirua.'' 

Along with Mr Leggett he issued a request to meet with the Defence Force to discuss the office closure and urge the matter to be reconsidered.

Yesterday a New Zealand Defence Force spokesperson said no jobs would be lost as a result of the move, which would happen when the building's lease expired.

Approximately 150 staff will re-locate from Porirua to other existing Defence Force locations in Wellington during the year, and all had been aware of the move for two years.

''Improving the IT infrastructure of the Defence Force has been a priority for some time and this move will help deliver more robust information and communications support, underpinning Defence activities.''

The Dominion Post