27 Mar 2012

Defence force cuts 7 out of 10 bands

8:26 pm on 27 March 2012

The New Zealand Defence Force has confirmed it is axing seven of its military bands in a bid to cut costs.

The bands provide musical support at ceremonial events around the country.

Four Army Territorial Force bands and three Air Force Territorial Force bands will lose funding, which the Defence Force says will save more than $2.6 million over five years.

Just three bands will receive funding, including the Navy Regular Force Band, based at Devonport, as well as the Wellington-based Air Force Territorial Force band and the Army Regular Force Band, based at Burnham.

Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Rhys Jones says despite the cutbacks, the musical requirements of major ceremonial events in New Zealand will continue to be met.

He says the Defence Force is prioritising events such as Anzac Day and other important occasions to ensure they still receive coverage.

The New Zealand branch of the International Military Music Society says cutting the bands will be a big loss for the country.

Spokesperson Bob Davis says the seven bands under threat serve an important role and perform at about 400 events every year.