A vibrant Reserve Force's presence in Tauranga is not in jeopardy from proposed organisational changes, the New Zealand Defence Force has said today.
Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Rhys Jones, says the NZ Defence Force understands the importance of maintaining a Reserve Force presence at a local level.
"Our Reserve Forces are able to provide well-integrated, part-time military personnel that help round-out or sustain NZ Defence Force elements deploying on and supporting operations," he says. "A proposed amalgamation of Reserve battalions is an organisational change, and not one focused on reducing our regional footprint.
"The proposed changes to the shape of the Reserve Forces in 2012, build on the command and control changes that took place in December 2011. These changes ensure the Reserve Forces have access to more comprehensive training and are more readily able to integrate into combat units as required."
LT GEN Jones also reiterated that the total numbers of Reserve Forces are not being cut. The NZ Defence Force announced earlier this year the intention to have categories of Reserve Forces: ‘Active’, ‘Standby’ and ‘Inactive’.
"This will allow us to create a more qualified and deployable force. Current Territorial Force members who are not in the Active Reserve, will be retained in the Standby Reserve, ensuring overall numbers of Army Reserves are similar to what we have today.
"The floor figure of 1200 personnel relates only to the Active Reserve Force, which is funded for 24 days of training per annum. This represents more training days available to our Active Reservists than has previously been available."
LT GEN Jones says the Standby Reserve will be willing reservists who are already at the necessary level of skills and training, for example, personnel who have recently left the Regular Force; or people whose skills are maintained through their occupations, for example, medical specialists.
"This is really about changing the Reserve model to better match the 21st Century needs of our Defence Force," he says. "It makes our Reserve Force people in places like Tauranga even more relevant, not less."
For more information contact Defence Communications Group, media phone on 021 487 980.