NZ Naval Report to the Defence Council – 1974

Extract from the report of the Naval Board of the Defence Council for period 1 April 1973 to 31 March 1974

INTRODUCTION

The Government is firmly committed to a foreign and defence policy, which has a number of specific aims; its basic objectives are the preservation of the independence, security, sovereignty, and national interests of New Zealand, now and for the future. In furtherance of these objectives, the armed forces have an essential part to play, in enhancing stability in the Asian and Pacific region, assisting where practicable in economic development in the South West Pacific, and in ensuring that New Zealand has an effective voice in international consultations on matters of importance to our security and interests.

Inevitably, in any circumstance, there will be tension between the objectives of a nation’s defence policy and the resources that can be devoted to achieving them. This becomes more apparent in the absence of a direct or immediate threat. It is especially true for a small country like New Zealand, given the competing claims on our limited resources of manpower and finance. The determination of the level of resources, which should be allocated to defence, therefore, is a combination of judgment and analysis between what is necessary or sufficient in the national security field, tempered by what the Government is willing to forego in other areas of Government expenditure. The problem is “how much is enough” to maintain balanced, efficient, and effective defence forces of a minimum size, but which are capable of expansion when threats eventuate.

There is no absolute answer to this problem. In its approach, the Government is mindful of the fact that military forces and capabilities cannot be created overnight. The reconstitution of a military capability takes longer than does the threat to materialise. Long-term strategic assessments may provide a broad guide to the kinds of forces, which we may need, together with a general indication of major equipment requirements; but such projections made now would be subject to many unforeseen changes. Thus, while the expected needs for the remainder of this decade do not appear to call for any expansion of existing operational capabilities, any curtailment could seriously restrict our flexibility and our overall ability to respond to a variety of possible situations. The Government recognises that, in the current “no direct threat” environment, with more cause for optimism in the improving international relations than in the past decade, defence requirements for resources will be conditioned mainly by the necessity to maintain our current flexible force structure, with minimum-sized balanced forces capable of meeting roles ranging from our participation in multilateral defence arrangements to such contingencies as United Nations peacekeeping operations, but also with the capacity of timely expansion should circumstances change.

There is also no easily discernible yardstick for determining the appropriate size of our armed forces. The structure must provide the required operational capability, in the form of efficient and effective units. In the short term we must face the problem of making better use of the available level of manpower, by attracting and retaining career officers and NCO’s who are the “core” of all three services of the armed forces. For the longer term we shall have to take the proper decisions at the right time, to ensure that we have the forces which we shall need in the future for the as yet not precisely defined requirements. The present structure is the minimum, which will produce leaders with sufficient professional expertise to meet these contingencies both in peace and war. It also contains a minimum mix of effective operational capabilities, which provide an adequate base against the possible changes in emphasis in the years ahead.

Consequently, I believe that more attention must now be given to the pressing problems of conditions of service, in particular to improving living and working accommodation, providing adequate housing, and reducing the backlog of works maintenance. Improvement of these conditions is a matter of importance to Government and we have made a start in several fields, as instanced in this report. The rate of progress has been inhibited by the stabilisation measures we have taken to get the economy into balance, but I intend to continue improvements as and when practicable. I am convinced that unless greater effort is made to overcome this problem, a significant loss in the sense of purpose of our servicemen could be expected along with a greater outflow of expensively trained manpower and a decline in the number and standard of recruits.

The rising costs of manpower, capital equipment, capital works and maintenance, and the varying operational commitments to implement Government policy have been difficult to harmonise with defence allocations of resources in the past and no doubt this will continue in the future. In the immediate past, various factors such as the reducing tempo of combat operations and more effective management of resources have made possible the retention of our current force structure and capabilities. But this has been achieved only at the expense of the living and working conditions of the forces and of other aspects, which perpetuate an expensive rate of manpower turnover.

While at this time I see no need to increase our current level of operational capability, it is clear that it will not be possible for Government to implement a steady and continuing programme to remedy the most pressing deficiencies in the defence field if the proportion of resources allocated to defence maintains a downward trend. The Government is determined to carry out its election policy commitment to improve the conditions of service of the forces, both regular and non-regular. In so doing, it believes that it will be able to maintain a minimum level of efficient and effective forces, appropriate to the country’s resources and both the present and foreseen requirements.
A. J. FAuLKNER,
Minister of Defence.

THE ROLE OF THE ARMED FORCES IN THE FURTHERANCE OF GOVERNMENT POLICY

International Commitments Five Power Defence Arrangements

New Zealand continues to give its support to the Five Power Defence Arrangements involving Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United Kingdom, which became effective in 1971. Although ostensibly a military arrangement, the partnership is primarily a political instrument, which aims at fostering a climate of co-operation and confidence in the area. By their participation, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom declare their support for the maintenance of stability, the preservation of national integrity and political independence of Malaysia and Singapore. These two nations have indicated a strong desire for the continuation of the arrangements.

The decision by Australia during the year under review to withdraw a substantial portion of its ground forces from the region provided New Zealand with the opportunity to establish a separate national headquarters for its forces in South-east Asia. As a result, on 31 January 1974 command of the New Zealand elements of the ANZUK Force was transferred to a New Zealand commander. New Zealand thus now has a nationally identifiable force based on Singapore. This will facilitate implementation of the Government’s policy of strengthening and extending New Zealand’s bilateral relationships in the area.

The composition of the New Zealand forces in Singapore under the new arrangement remains as previously: a RNZN frigate based on Singapore; 1st Battalion RNZIR at Dieppe Barracks and No. 41 Squadron RNZAF flying Bristol Freighter transport aircraft and Iroquois utility helicopters from Tengah Air Base. The headquarters of the New Zealand Force is located at Kangaw, adjacent to Dieppe Barracks.

When the ANZUK Force itself is finally disbanded during 1974 the United Kingdom currently intends to set up their own national organisation for the command and control of United Kingdom forces in the area. Arrangements have been made for close co-operation and rationalisation of activities between the two forces. New Zealand Force, for example, will undertake the entire food rationing system for the residual ANZUK and the eventual separate British Force and New Zealand Force and will operate similar systems on an “agency” basis in the fields of dental treatment and fire protection services. The British Force in turn will provide services for the New Zealand Force, including hospital services, communications, and the administration of locally employed civilians.

SEATO

The structure and role of SEATO has been changed substantially during the last year, greatly reducing its military orientation. Military planning, which has been recognised as increasingly irrelevant to existing conditions in recent years, ceased on 28 September 1973 and the Military Planning Office closed on 31 January 1974. Drastic reductions have been made in the military component of the staff of the new organisation, which will consist of four branches-Development Affairs, Security Affairs, Administration, and the Office of the Secretary-General. The Development Affairs Office will be responsible for economic and social matters and the Security Affairs Office will be responsible for insurgency analysis, advisory services to Philippines and Thailand on security aspects of development, and developing the exercise programme. New Zealand will have one officer in the latter office.

ANZUS

The ANZUS Treaty, providing New Zealand with a guarantee of American and Australian assistance in the event of direct external attack, remains a very important element in New Zealand’s defence policy. It is more than just a defence arrangement, however, being symbolic of a basic community of interests and outlook that extends to many fields in addition to defence. The twenty-third ANZUS Council Meeting, which took place in Wellington on 26-27 February 1974, provided the forum for an exchange of views on political and economic issues as well as matters of strategic concern.

Mutual Assistance Program.m.e Malaysia

A Malaysian contingent consisting of 40 personnel from 1 Malaysian Special Services Regiment underwent a training programme arranged by 1 Ranger Squadron. Individual training was arranged at the Army schools for a further 44 Malaysian students. In addition this year, the first class of eight Royal Malaysian Navy radio mechanics have commenced their qualifying course at HMNZS Philomel. RNZAF schools have provided training for Royal Malaysian Air Force personnel on physical education, photography, and flying, including flying instructor courses. Two New Zealand Army officers have been attached as instructors to the Malaysian Jungle Warfare School. For the first time, a New Zealand Army officer is a student at the Malaysian Armed Forces Staff College in Kuala Lumpur.

The Malaysian Army is currently seeking Labrador dogs in New Zealand for training and employment in a tracker role. In liaison with the New Zealand Kennel Club, assistance is being given in obtaining suitable animals.

Singapore

Three Singapore Armed Forces Maritime Command (SAFMC) midshipmen have been undergoing training in HMNZS Philomel and sea-going units. Both the RNZAF and the RNZN continue to provide assistance to the Singapore Armed Forces with loan personnel acting as advisers and instructors.

Indonesia

New avenues are being explored for the establishment of bilateral relations with Indonesia. Two officers of the Indonesian armed forces are currently attending English language classes at the Wellington Polytechnic, prior to a 6 months’ attachment to the Ministry for training in planning, programming, and budgetary techniques. As an initial

Trial project, a New Zealand dental officer has undertaken a series of lectures in oral pathology to post-graduate students at the Armed Forces Dental Institute at Jakarta. A gift of books has been made to the Indonesian Staff College at Bandung, where a second New Zealand Army officer is now attending as a student.

Papua – New Guinea

Following the Prime Minister’s discussions with the Chief Minister of Papua – New Guinea in Port Moresby in December, a programme of assistance to the Papua – New Guinea Defence Force is being considered. Already two New Zealand service officers are attending the necessary language-training course in Australia prior to attachment as instructors at the PNG Joint Services College at Lae.

Fiji

Four Fijian cadets who had commenced apprenticeships in 1972 at the Regular Force Cadet School were posted to units in New Zealand as part of their apprenticeship training cycle. Fifty members of the Royal Fiji Military Forces Employment and Training Unit are continuously in New Zealand on a 12 months rotation period. Training takes place at Papakura and Burnham Camps and while covering predominantly basic infantry skills, includes also a variety of technical training. In November an RNZE warrant officer was attached to the RFMF to assist in the establishment of a trade training school. In addition, six RFMF soldiers underwent 6 weeks’ training in instruction techniques in New Zealand to qualify them as instructors for the new school. An RFMF officer has now assumed the appointment of Commander, Royal Fiji Military Forces, previously held by a seconded New Zealand Army officer. New Zealand Army is providing an officer who acts as Chief of Staff, RFMF. In May 1 officer and 13 RNZE other ranks deployed to Rotuma Island to carry out house rebuilding following Hurricane Bebe. In a 4-week period on the island the team managed to construct 200 houses to a basic standard of foundations, wall columns, and roof. In addition, one house was completed with concrete block walls to act as a show house for subsequent island self help development. Following Hurricane Lottie, relief supplies, totalling 93,000 lb, were flown to Fiji by RNZAF.

Tonga

Two Tongan cadets commenced a 4-year technical training scheme at the Regular Force Cadet School in January 1974. At the same time, two Tongan N.C.O.s arrived in New Zealand to undertake courses of instruction at the Army schools. One officer from the marine detachment of the Tonga Defence Force successfully completed ocean and general navigation training with the RNZN and a further officer is at present undergoing similar training.

New Zealand Army continues to provide an officer who acts as commander of the Tonga Defence Force. An RNZN officer visited Tonga in January 1974 to advise the Tongan authorities on matters relating to the technical training of personnel for, and maintenance of, the fishery protection vessel. Further proposals for RNZN assistance to the Tongan Government in respect of the formation of a maritime detachment to carry out fishery protection duties are under consideration.

A gift of eight surplus radio sets has also been made to Tonga for use in disaster relie£

Cook Islands

A combined Army, RNZAF, and Ministry of Works team visited Atiu in the Cook Islands in July 1973 to study the feasibility of Army engineers constructing a harbour on the island. As a result, Army engineers with some RNZAF transport assistance will deploy to Atiu during 1974 to undertake the construction.

Antarctica Support

RNZAF provided air transport support to the United States Navy in the form of nine return flights to McMurdo and by the loan of two helicopter crews. In addition, RNZAF and the New Zealand Army jointly provided cargo-handling teams at Williams Field, McMurdo, during the period October 1973 to February 1974. Over 2,500 tons of air cargos were processed.

Domestic Hydrographic Survey

HMNZS Lachlan continued charting between Doubtless Bay and Cape Brett. This survey will be completed by mid 1974, thus enabling all charts based on 1850 era surveys, on the north-east coast of the North Island, to be replaced. The two surveying motor launches Takapu and Tarapunga were similarly engaged on survey and have carried out wire sweeping operations in Doubtful, Dusky, and Breaksea Sounds to prove the navigational safety of the areas. A progress survey was also undertaken of the Bluff Harbour channel following several years’ work of dredging and rock removal.

Surveys of harbours, consequent upon major constructional work, were also carried out at Asau in Western Samoa and Avatiu in Rarotonga. During passage opportunity was taken to land stores at Raoul Island, and a mercy dash was made to Atafu in the Tokelau Islands to uplift a sick man.

The Hydrographic Office published the following new charts: Tamaki Strait and Approaches; Approaches to Waverley Off-shore Port; Cape Brett to Bream Tail. A new international edition was published for the Tasman Sea, New Zealand to southeast Australia, and a new edition of the Chart Catalogue and Index was issued. In addition, 45 charts were revised and reprinted. All totalled 56,116 fully corrected charts and 2,097 navigational books were issued for Navy use or for resale through agents in New Zealand and overseas.

Fishery Protection

The motor launches Kuparu, Koura, Paea, Mako, and Manga have continued to patrol New Zealand’s east coast from North Cape to Stewart Island during the year. In addition, transport and logistic assistance has been provided when required to other Government departments by motor launches, mainly to support wildlife surveys on offshore islands.

More extensive fishery protection patrols, including periodic visits to the Chatham Islands, have been undertaken by HMNZS Inverell in addition to her role as a training ship for both midshipmen and junior ratings.

Search and Rescue

Nearly 450 hours were flown by RNZAF aircraft on 60 search and rescue tasks. These included casualty flights from New Zealand to Rarotonga, Penrhyn, and Norfolk Island. The versatility of the helicopter was highlighted by 25 successful missions in mountainous country. The Army participated in 13 search and rescue operations during the year involving 38 personnel and 37 vehicles. Ships of the RNZN have also been instrumental in the rescue of small pleasure craft. All three services actively support the Civil Defence Organisation.

Mururoa Operation

During the year, as part of its actions in opposition to France’s nuclear testing programme in the South Pacific, the Government implemented its declared policy of deploying a frigate, as a last resort, to the test zone around Mururoa Atoll.

On 28 June 1973 HMNZS Otago sailed from Auckland. The Hon. F. M. Colman, Minister of Mines, a senior safety officer from the National Radiation Laboratory, and representatives of the news media were on board. On 25 July HMNZS Canterbury relieved Otago, which was required in New Zealand for planned maintenance and docking. The passengers were transferred between ships. Canterbury’s planned deployment to the ANZUK Naval Force was cancelled. The fleet tanker HMAS Supply was made available by the Australian Government to provide fuelling support at sea for the two New Zealand frigates during the operation. Without this support the frigates could not have remained on station for the length of time required to maintain the presence in the test zone. HMAS Supply visited Rarotonga in between replenishing the frigates with fuel, to collect and deliver fresh provisions and replacement equipment, which had been airlifted from New Zealand in three flights, two by RNZAF Cl30 aircraft, and one by RAAF Cl30 aircraft.

The first nuclear device of the 1973 French tests was detonated while Otago was on station, and it was able to monitor and photograph the explosion. The second and smaller test in the series occurred during Canterbury’s period on station. The two frigates returned to Auckland on 2 and 13 August respectively.

THE IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW POLICY AFFECTING SERVICEMEN

Legislation

To give effect to the Government’s policy on voluntary service within the armed forces, the Ministry of Defence in the past year was closely associated with the Department of Labour in the introduction of the new Volunteers Employment Protection Act 1973 replacing the National Military Service Act 1961.

In addition, work is continuing in the Ministry on the production of rules of procedure, regulations, and the orders which, with the new Armed Forces Discipline Act 1971, will establish a single disciplinary code common to all services and provide at the same time for up-to-date procedures for the administration of justice in the services.

Conditions of Service

Although economic restraints have ruled out major improvements in pay and allowances this year, some advances have been possible in conditions of service. Provision has now been made for RNZNVR personnel to undertake paid training on much the same scale as Army territorials; whereas they were previously limited to 20 days’ paid training per year, they may now serve a standard 30 days per year with a further 10 to 20 days per year in specified circumstances.

There has also been a significant advance in conditions of service for personnel posted overseas for less than 12 months. Traditionally, such personnel have been posted “unaccompanied”. Assistance with dependants’ fares is now being given to those servicemen whose tours of duty exceed 6 months but who do not qualify for “accompanied” status. Other aspects of conditions of service under active consideration include the financial and welfare problems of separation for married personnel, terminal cash benefits and superannuation conditions for all ranks; armed forces housing, the pay structure for officers in specialist positions requiring professional qualifications, the pay structure for officers commissioned from the ranks, and equal pay implications for servicewomen.

Re-establishment in Civil Life

In accordance with the Government manifesto relating to the re-establishment of servicemen in the civilian community, steps have been taken to ensure that proper civilian trade recognition is given to trades and skills learned in the services. In June 1973 Defence Council established an Advisory Committee to advise on the implementation of this policy. Members of the committee were readily made available by the Departments of Education and Labour, the Trade Certification Board, the Technicians Certification Authority, each of which provided senior personnel, and from Defence. Recommendations have been made on most service trades and a number have already been implemented. Some service trades give considerable scope for alignment with civil counterparts and in these, particularly, the services are incorporating, nationally recognised civil qualifications in their own standards of attainment wherever this is practicable. It is hoped that the adoption of this policy will assist the recruitment and retention programmes of the services. As a result of the committee’s work, further improvement in scope of employment for discharged personnel will be possible in future.

DEFENCE MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION

Planning, Programming, and Budgeting

In parallel with Government planning, the Ministry of Defence has been progressively developing a management system which, whilst providing a basis for a methodical approach to the problem of determining future defence requirements, will also facilitate the centralised planning, analysis, and evaluation of defence policy, as an aid to Government decisions. While the development of this system is seen as a longer-term task, it has already been possible to reach the point where, in 1974, the Ministry will be able to produce a comprehensive statement of long and short-term requirements and the planned allocation of finance, manpower, and material resources against these requirements over a 5-year period. This rolling 5-year integrated defence programme will cover capital equipment, works, manpower, training, maintenance, and day-to-day operating requirements. It will also provide the basis for the 3-year forecast of expenditure required by Government and will replace the existing 5-year financial programme.

The whole range of defence activities has been restructured into a wider based set of primary defence programmes more appropriate to the defence roles and tasks and facilitating “management by objectives”. These will be reflected in Vote Defence, Schedule C, of the Estimates for 1974-75.

The analysis and evaluation of new and continuing policy and of the programmes giving effect to policy is an explicit part of the planning, programming, and budgeting concept. The Ministry has recently reviewed its requirement for analytical studies and steps are being taken to improve the Ministry’s capability in this field. This is becoming an increasingly important aspect of defence management as the Ministry continues to face the complex problems which arise in trying to harmonise the rising price of modern weapon systems, increasing manpower costs, etc., on the one hand, with the present level of financial allocation on the other. With careful management, and despite a steadily declining relative proportion of resources being allocated to defence over recent years, it has just been possible to retain the existing force structure and a minimum level of operational capability in the very basic roles our forces undertake. Defence spending is now at a fine balance to maintain these minimum capabilities.

Electronic Data Processing

Approval has been given to upgrade the Defence computer by increasing its computing processing and communications facilities. This will, while meeting the rapidly increasing computer workloads, also provide some back up of the Government Computer Centre. This reflects the extent and importance of the wide range of computer systems, which the Ministry has already established and is continuing to upgrade and extend as an integral part of its management system. These systems cover resource management, supply systems, cataloguing personnel data, pay and financial control.

New Defence Building

Work has commenced on the Freyberg Building which is stage 1 of this project and foundations of the tower block to accommodate the “non-secure” elements of the Ministry are now under construction on the site within Mulgrave, Pipitea, and Aitken Streets in the Government Centre. This stage is scheduled to be completed during 1977.

ROUTINE OPERATIONS OVERSEAS AND IN NEW ZEALAND

Joint Exercises

The annual submarine and weapon training exercise AUCKEX 73 was held during September. HMNZ Ships Canterbury, Otago, and lnverell took part together with RAN ships and submarines. RNZAF aircraft also participated and provided target-towing facilities. The joint maritime exercise LONGEX 73 was held during late September/early October. Thirteen ships and submarines from New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom, United States, and the Netherlands plus aircraft from New Zealand and Australia participated. RNZAF and RNZN units also participated in joint maritime exercises with allied forces in Hawaii, South-east Asia, and Australia. All these exercises once again proved the ability of ships and aircraft of different countries to work efficiently together. They also provided necessary experience in the anti-submarine warfare role as well as enabling personnel to update knowledge of latest techniques and procedures.

Navy

HMNZS Canterbury, following exercises in Hawaii, relieved HMNZS Otago on patrol at Mururoa Atoll at the time of the French nuclear tests. Following participation in combined maritime exercises, the ship proceeded on a period of midshipmen training which comprised two training cruises to Australia and Fiji. She also accompanied HMY Britannia for Royal escort duties. The ship is currently on a joint maritime exercise off the coast of Australia.

HMNZS Otago commenced the year with a lengthy training cruise, which included a visit to Napier and a fishery protection patrol around Bounty Islands before being placed on patrol off Mururoa Atoll. The ship is currently stationed in Singapore as part of the New Zealand Force.

HMNZS Taranaki spent the first half of 1973 serving with the ANZUK Naval Force. Altogether Taranaki spent 224 days away, of which 138 were at sea, steamed over 40,000 miles, and visited some 12 ports in 9 countries. In November she commenced a long refit and is currently undergoing post-refit trials.

HMNZS Waikato was in refit at the beginning of the year, subsequently proceeding to Pearl Harbour for training. On her return to New Zealand she has taken part in goodwill visits and special celebrations and festivals throughout the country. Waikato completed the year as gunnery firing ship for training classes.

HMNZS lnverell and Kiama have been committed during periods of the year on seamanship training and fishery patrol work. lnverell was also employed on target towing for surface firing during exercise AUCKEX 73, and represented the Navy in Port Underwood for New Zealand Day celebrations.

A successful disaster relief exercise involving two RNZNVR divisions, RNZN, and Red Cross units was held in the Hauraki Gulf area during the year.

Training Overseas

During the year 499 personnel attended courses in the United States, Britain, Australia, Malaysia and Indonesia. The planning of overseas courses for 1973-74 was aimed at maintaining the same level of training activity as had been achieved in the previous year and providing the essential minimum required to ensure operational efficiency in each of the services. Cabinet approval was also obtained during the year to increase the number of personnel serving on exchanges overseas from 10 to 15 at anyone time. Because of the advantages and benefits derived from exchange postings, it is hoped to increase the number of concurrent exchanges to 20 in 1974-75.

Training in New Zealand

NAVY

Thirty-two midshipmen, including three from the Singapore Armed Forces Maritime Command were under training in HMNZS Tamaki during the year. Two General List officers completed the requirements for degrees at Auckland University in 1973 and are now undergoing professional training in HMNZS Philomel. Fourteen junior officers entered the RNZN in January 1974 to commence training in HMNZS Tamaki and a total of 70 artificer apprentices are currently undergoing training. During the year a total of 423 new entry ratings for all branches completed their basic common training in HMNZS Tamaki. A total of 1,880 personnel were given continuation training in 201 separate courses in HMNZS Philomel during the year. These included 90 officers, 6 Army, 2 Police, 8 Royal Malaysian Navy personnel, and 66 civilians.

The training of Merchant Navy personnel at the NBCD School has been continued and 17 men have completed the special 2-day firefighting courses held throughout the year.

NAVY

RNZNVR divisions continue to maintain a high level of training and to support search and rescue requirements within their areas.

Technical Services

Throughout the year HMNZ Dockyard carried out its major functions of refitting and repairing ships of the RNZN fleet, providing support to operational ships, and undertaking the repair and manufacture of naval stores items despite a continuing and increasing labour shortage. Refits were carried out for HMNZ Ships Waikato and Tui: the frigate Waikato was in dockyard hands for 16 weeks, while the research vessel Tui was given a refit of 12 weeks to enable the replacement of her port main engine. HMNZS Taranaki commenced a long refit in November and is currently undergoing post-refit trials. The diving tender Manawanui was also refitted. The vessels Canterbury, Otago, Lachlan, and Kiama were docked at various times during the year and essential defect work undertaken. The time needed for this work varied from 3 to 5 weeks and required a total of 1,210 man/weeks of dockyard labour. The dockyard tug Arataki was refitted late in the year and was the first vessel to be raised from the water by the new synchrolift. The boat shop has had a full year dealing with the refitting and routine slipping of motor launches of the Fishery Protection Squadron, the Reserve Divisions, and the survey vessels.

Housing, Capital Works, and Maintenance

The Ministry is concerned to give full effect to the Government’s policy of providing for improved conditions of service, including an uninterrupted programme of housing, provision of improved living and working accommodation, and a determined effort to reduce the backlog of works maintenance. Despite the substantial proportion of the 1973-74 Works Programme allocated to maintenance, and an increased proportion of Vote: Defence being allocated to capital works, the combined effect of the backlog and inflation on existing and proposed works programme levels is such that the financial resources available for Defence works fall far short of the resources required to implement Government policy. The increasing maintenance cost of deteriorating assets indicates clearly the urgent need for the capital replacement of a large number of buildings and facilities. Unless adequate financial provision is made within forward programmes, together with a reasonable priority for the use of available construction resources, it will not be possible to either redress the balance of resources expended as between non cost-effective maintenances and new low maintenance cost buildings, or demonstrate real progress towards improved living and working conditions for the armed forces.

Fifty-three houses were approved under the 1973-74 Defence Works Programme. A further six houses were approved under a revised housing programme. It is expected that 20 houses will be completed during the year, leaving 90 in various stages of construction. During the period 1974 to 1977 provision was originally made to commence construction of 116 houses; this programme has now been increased by a further 100 houses, expenditure for the total number being spread over a 3-4 year period. Also, to enable follow-on construction approximately 411 new building sections will be developed.

Work associated with the establishment of a new communications centre at HMNZ Dockyard, the construction of a new administration block and senior ranks accommodation for HMNZS lrirangi within Waiouru Camp, and the upgrading of facilities at the West Melton rifle range have been completed. Approval has been given for a new 600-man other ranks mess building at Papakura, the installation of stage 1 of the permanent heating scheme at Woodbourne, the construction of a new radio and sonar workshop at HMNZ Dockyard, and the installation of a TVASI landing aid at Whenuapai. Preliminary site investigations and planning for a new wharf at HMNZ Dockyard are also currently being undertaken and reticulation systems have been renewed at various locations.