New facility for LSV courses at Whenuapai

Construction of the new youth development facility at RNZAF Base Auckland at Whenuapai got under way today, with a sod-turning ceremony attended by Minister of Defence Ron Mark.

“The Government is committed to helping our young people achieve their goals,” says Mr Mark. “This new facility plays a key part in our commitment and will support vital youth development programmes, such as Limited Service Volunteer (LSV) courses, Service Academies and NZ Cadet Forces.

“I’ve seen first-hand the amazing work done by our Defence personnel in developing young people. Their professionalism, ethos and values are second to none, and inspire young people on these programmes to achieve their goals,” says Mr Mark. 

The new complex replaces facilities in Auckland that are outdated and inadequate.  It will support the new coalition Government’s policy, secured in the agreement between New Zealand First and the New Zealand Labour Party, to double the number of trainees going through LSV courses from 800 to 1600 annually.

“Auckland is an ideal location for the new facility because of its proximity to potential employers, educational institutions and the vast support networks that can help young people thrive,” says Mr Mark.

“LSV courses have been conducted on Defence Force bases for over 20 years and I am committed to maintaining and expanding the programme so more young New Zealanders can be inspired by our wonderful Defence staff.

“The new facility will have classrooms, 120 beds in barracks accommodation, supervisor accommodation, interview rooms and a medical bay.

“When the facility is not being used by these youth programmes it will be used by the NZDF for other purposes,” says Mr Mark. 

The long-running LSV scheme is a successful programme. Based on 2016 figures, 81 per cent of LSV trainees completed the course and 52 per cent were off benefit 16 weeks after the course

The NZDF, along with partner agencies – the Ministries of Social Development and Education -- have agreed to a cost-sharing arrangement where the Defence Force will fund the upfront costs and then recover a proportional share from them.

The capital cost of the project will be $10.6 million over the next two financial years, followed by through-life maintenance costs totalling $5.5 million over 20 years.

The facility will be completed later in the year.