24 Apr 2013

Defence Force chief denies gag over morale

10:13 pm on 24 April 2013

The Chief of the Defence Force says he has not been gagged by the Government or prevented from talking about morale in the force.

The Labour Party this week released a leaked survey on defence morale which it said showed one in five employees describing their morale as poor, and one in four intending to quit.

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman on Tuesday hit back, saying those figures are outdated and that 79% of personnel rate their morale as satisfactory or better since January this year.

Lieutenant-General Rhys Jones on Wednesday rejected Labour's claim that he was gagged by the minister.

He said Dr Coleman, who is overseas at present, had spoken to him about the claim and the minister had said it was "a political discussion rather than a facts and figures discussion".

Lieutenant-General Rhys Jones said morale in the Defence Force is better than in most other organisations.