Defence Force rebalances structure

29 June 2011

The New Zealand Defence Force is today advising 308 military personnel that they are no longer required in uniform and will be released in order to rebalance the workforce.

Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Rhys Jones says, “To be an agile and responsive Defence Force we need to ensure we have the right people with the right skills in the right role.”

The rebalancing is part of the process to implement the Total Defence Workforce approach set out in the Government’s Defence White Paper released late last year. This will ensure the Defence Force has the right number of people performing military roles to support the force structure and capability, and the right balance of civilians in civilian roles.

”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.  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. 

“Today we are taking the first steps towards rebalancing and reshaping the Defence Force to take us through to 2035.”

“While those who registered their interest in applying for civilian positions will welcome the decision, this is a difficult day for the Defence Force.  Our people remain the heart of our military capability.

“We have a robust support and retraining process in place on each camp and base to help these people make the transition from military to civilian life.”

The NZ Defence Force has a comprehensive personnel support structure made up of career managers and Well-being teams, as well as chaplains and psychologists, already in place at each camp and base and they can assist our people today.

To date the Defence Force has identified about 280 military roles that are to be civilianised. Military personnel who are being released will be strongly encouraged to apply for these newly civilianised roles or other vacancies within the Defence Force. 

This means that by the end of this year, through this process as well as natural attrition, there will be approximately 500 fewer military personnel.

LTGEN Jones assures the public of New Zealand that these decisions affect less than 5% of total military personnel. He says, “The New Zealand Defence Force has over 9300 military personnel who remain ready and able to meet operational requirements both here and overseas.”


For further information contact: Chris Wright (04) 496 0296, (021) 487 980

Questions and Answers
1.Are military people who are currently deployed on operations being released?

No.  Those currently deployed on operations have not been considered in this process.

2.What roles are being civilianised?

They are roles that do not need to be performed by a military person with military skills, training and experience.  They include drivers, instructors, photographers, logistics and administrative personnel.

3.Has the Defence budget been cut?

  No, Government has not cut our budget.  Like every government-funded organisation we are considering how we spend our budget so we are reprioritising and reallocating expenditure, and actively identifying ways to be more efficient and effective.

4.Will there be further civilianisation?

Yes there will be a further tranche by mid next year and potentially more following that.

5.How many personnel are currently deployed?

As at 14 June, 706 personnel were deployed on peacekeeping duties, UN mission and Defence exercises. There are also 41 personnel on overseas postings.

6.Will those impacted received redundancy?

If they do not choose to apply for the newly civilianised roles, or are not appointed to a role, then yes.

7.What is the impact of today’s announcement by Service and rank?

By Service:

Current no.
No. impacted
Air Force
Total Regular Force Personnel

By rank:

The 308 is made up of 81 Officers (5.4% of impacted ranks) and 227 Other Ranks (4.5% of impacted ranks).


This page was last reviewed on 28 June 2011.