Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman should be ashamed by the number of Kiwi sailors jumping ship and joining the exodus across the ditch, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway.
“Increasing numbers of skilled navy personnel have decided their ‘brighter future’ lies in Australia.
“Sadly, it’s a too-familiar story. In this case the result is that the New Zealand navy is now reliant on Aussie personnel to crew its ships.
"Jonathan Coleman wants us to believe that low morale and unsustainable budget cuts are somehow 'old news'. Old news wouldn’t continue to cause headaches for the Defence Force leadership.
"Successive governments have chosen to focus our Defence Force on niche capabilities that are appropriate for our small size and geographic location. A core capability is patrolling our own waters and those of our Asia-Pacific region.
“Because of National’s mishandling of the Defence portfolio, we now have to rely on Australia to help us carry out the most basic of military functions. That simply isn’t good enough.
“Perhaps it is Jonathan Coleman’s inept handling of Defence and his contribution to the number of people who have given up any hope of finding decent work in New Zealand that prompted John Key to promote him in his recent cabinet re-shuffle.
“If New Zealand is to maintain our excellent international reputation as a contributor to global peace and security, Jonathan Coleman needs to stop dismissing all the problems he has created and start fixing them.”