There is a promise of pay rises for Navy sailors as many give up life at sea in favour of lucrative jobs in Australian mines
New Zealand Defence Force chief Lieutenant General Rhys Jones says Navy personnel are departing to work Australian mines at such a rate there are no longer enough sailors to adequately crew the fleet.
"The Australian mining is starting to target the Defence Force, and the Navy in particular have been targeted because they work with large machinery," Jones said.
Last month ONE News revealed staffing shortages meant the Navy will not be able to utilise up to half of its inshore petrol vessels over the next twelve months.
Figures released to ONE News show in June last year, there were 2119 uniformed personnel in the Navy. By the beginning of this year that number had dropped to 1890.
Lieutenant Jones says the Australian mining companies are actively recruiting at Auckland's Devonport Naval Base, offering the sailors big bucks compared to the average Navy salary of $60,000.
"The salary package is often twice, if not more, than the salary that they're offered and that's one of the reasons that we can't compete," he said.
At a select committee today Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman was asked why members of the New Zealand military haven't received a pay rise in four years.
"Intent to leave is way up and morale has been dropping since the first quarter of 2009, what are you actually doing to turn that morale that plummeting morale statistic around?" queried Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway.
Coleman responded: "There will be money there for wage adjustments, we're just working through that at the moment."
Coleman later added that losing staff to the Australian mining
industry was a nationwide issue.