300 military personnel made redundant

04:27, Jun 29 2011

More than three hundred military personnel have been told this morning that they have lost their jobs.

They include 81 officers and 227 personnel from other ranks.

The biggest impact is in Wellington where 108 jobs are to go, with 70 job losses at Trentham and 38 in Wellington.

Other bases to be hit are Waiouru (28), Devonport (45) Linton (20), Ohakea (21),Whenuapai (28) and Burnham (28).

Many of the people affected are long serving personnel. There are 110 warrant officers, 83 sergeants and senior sergeants and 61 majors or those holding equivalent ranks in the navy or air force.

Fourteen Lieutenant Colonels will also lose their military ranks.


» Rank and location of affected staff

The decision affects less than 5 per cent of total military personnel and the Defence Force said that many of those who have lost their jobs were encouraged to apply for civilian roles.

Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly said the requirement for dismissed uniformed personnel to apply for non-uniformed roles was an "outrageous abuse of power" and wouldn't have happened if the workers were covered by the standard employment relations law.

"It's fine for the Defence Force to restructure, but to then make these workers apply for their own jobs on the open market is simply orchestrating what would be an unfair dismissal in any other normal business and these men and women deserve more respect than that."

She said there were "special constitutional reasons" why the defence forces weren't covered by employment law.

The military job cuts follow recommendations in the government's Defence White Paper released late last year.

The Defence Force had identified 280 military roles that were to be turned into civilian roles.

It expected that there would be 500 fewer military personnel by the end of the year with $40 million a year saved on payroll.

"Since the release of the Defence White Paper we have determined which roles need to be performed by military people with military training, skills and experience, and which can be performed by civilians," Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Rhys Jones said.

"We have also determined the numbers of military personnel we need across our ranks, trades, and branches in order to meet our current and future operational requirements."

More than 9300 military personnel remain as Defence Force employees after today's cuts.