Peeni Henare. Photo: File.

Govt accepts Defence Force review recommendations

Lloyd Burr 15/11/2021

LISTEN: Defence Minister Peeni Henare has today accepted recommendations from a review of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).

The review was conducted by an expert panel, led by former Auditor-General Lyn Provost. The panel was tasked with reviewing the structure, information management and record-keeping processes of the Defence Force.

Former Defence Minister Ron Mark called for the review following the Operation Burnham Inquiry, which found while military officials did not plot to cover up casualties in a 2010 Afghanistan operation, as claimed by journalists Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson in a book called Hit & Run, the Defence Force never corrected claims made to the public and ministers.

The review, released today, recommended:

  • Stronger integration between the Defence Force and the Ministry of Defence
  • A further review of elements of NZDF Headquarters
  • Stronger integration of NZSAS (New Zealand Special Air Service) into the Defence Force and the national security sector
  • Improve information management

Henare says the Defence Force needs to be closely integrated with the ministry so that policy can help guide on-the-ground operations.

"This is about making sure that the integrity and mana of the New Zealand Defence Force continues to have the public trust," he told Lloyd Burr Live.

Henare says the culture of the NZSAS needs to change from the top but it will "take time".

"What we need is for them to have a mind towards what our national security interests are and that's about the leadership and making sure that it fosters a culture that continues to not only serve in the deployment but is cognitive of all of the decisions that they make on the ground and how that impacts on our national security interests," he told Magic Talk.

Listen to the full interview with Peeni Henare above.

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