Big boost for Defence Force pay


Budget 2023 delivers the biggest pay increase in over a decade for defence personnel, and builds on the Government’s record investments in upgrading New Zealand’s military capability, Defence Minister Andrew Little has announced.

“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,” Andrew 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.

"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.

“This increase is four times greater than any previous defence remuneration boost over the past decade. It will go a long way to address attrition issues and make defence a career of choice.

“It means 90 percent of NZDF personnel will now be paid at, or close to, market rates.

“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,” Andrew Little said.

“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,” Andrew Little said.

“Our deployments are supporting the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, supporting stability in the Solomon Islands, observing border lines in the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula, providing mutual assistance and training to Pacific Island countries, and training Ukrainian forces in the UK to defend their country against Russia’s illegal and unjustified aggression.

“Budget 2023 also invests a further $328 million in upgrading our Defence Force assets and infrastructure to ensure we can better work with our partners to meet our commitments here, in the Pacific and abroad.

“Ninety 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.

“$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,” Andrew Little said.

Remuneration uplifts are expected to take effect from 1 July 2023.

Today’s capital announcements brings the total amount invested in Defence to $4.7 billion since 2017, or double what the previous government spent.

Click here for more information about this announcement.