25 Jan 2011

New Defence Force chief takes command

6:05 am on 25 January 2011

Lieutenant-General Rhys Jones has taken over as the chief of the New Zealand Defence Force.

The changeover was made at a ceremony at Government House in Auckland on Monday.

Lieutenant-General Jones takes over from Lieutenant-General Jerry Mateparae, who had five years in command.

Lieutenant-General Mateparae says the new chief has a challenging time ahead, given a value for money exercise being undertaken by the Defence Force.

A report released by the Government suggests closing down at least one base and taking jobs from uniformed officers.

However, Lieutenant-General Jones says he welcomes the challenges ahead And says the outgoing chief has put the force in a good position.

Lieutenant-General Jones says he isn't planning any drastic new direction, but will continue building on the value for money project.