Thursday, April 25, 2024

Historic Defence pay boost in Budget

Budget 2023 will deliver the biggest pay increase in over a decade for defence personnel, Defence Minister, Andrew Little said today.

The Minister said the pay of many NZDF personnel, including new recruits, and skilled lower ranked service people will increase between $4,000 and $15,000 from July 1.

“Attracting and retaining more New Zealanders into our defence force means we need to ensure that wages are competitive. This pay boost helps achieve that,” Mr Little said.

“High rates of staff turnover, as well as increasing calls on the NZDF such as responding to Cyclone Gabrielle, training Ukrainian troops in the UK, and surveillance and patrolling in our region means our forces are stretched.

He said pay increase was four times greater than any previous defence remuneration boost over the past decade and would go a long way to address attrition issues and make defence a career of choice.

“It means 90% of NZDF personnel will now be paid at, or close to, market rates,” he said.

“By investing over $419 million to boost the defence payroll we can continue to maintain, and attract, the skills, experience and expertise our personnel provide at home and abroad, as well as addressing cost of living pressures.

“We have a moral obligation to ensure our soldiers, sailors and aviators are fairly paid for the critical and often dangerous work they do, and the government takes that responsibility seriously on behalf of all New Zealanders.

“Defence personnel contribute to a more peaceful and secure world both on and offshore. With climate change and an increasingly contested geo strategic environment including in our Pacific neighbourhood it is important that New Zealand has the personnel and equipment to play our part in supporting global peace and security.”

Budget 2023 will also invest a further $328 million in upgrading Defence Force assets and infrastructure.

“$90 million will deliver upgraded aviation fuelling facilities at Ohakea, and $93 million will provide world class communications to our frigates and new Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles,” said Mr Little.

“$85 million to improve defence housing, with up to 50 new buildings at Waiouru, and a renovation pilot for 13 properties at Burnham, Linton and Ohakea.

“Many personnel and their families are asked to move between bases to serve and it is important the housing provided is suitable to support them to do their jobs,” he said.

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