Continuing friction between Brownlee and Defence Force

Gerry Brownlee 1200

If Gerry Brownlee thought the trickle of leaks in Defence was bad, wait until?the?troops find out what he has been saying about the Defence Force.

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee is less than impressed with the advice provided to him by his ministry and the defence force, giving them barely pass marks.

Mr Brownlee rated his satisfaction with the advice he received from both agencies at just 50 per cent, according to their latest annual reports.

The target is at least 90 per cent.

Vice-Chief of the Defence Force Air Vice-Marshal Kevin Short told parliament’s foreign affairs, defence and trade select committee Mr Brownlee had problems with the quality and timeliness of the advice he was receiving.

When Mr Brownlee took over the defence portfolio from his predecessor Jonathan Coleman, the defence force had to change the way it did things, Mr Short said.

“We were just dealing with Minister Brownlee as we had before, it’s not his style so we hadn’t adapted to that,” Mr Short told reporters after his appearance before the select committee. ?

“He had his standards and had his timelines that he needed to meet, we just weren’t aware of those to start with.”

Mr Short said changes have been made to the way the defence force operates in terms of how it deals with Mr Brownlee’s office.

“It was just a case of providing information he wanted in a format he wanted it.”

There are no ongoing issues or concerns, Mr Short said.

“The reason I’m so comfortable about it is we are meeting his needs, we are engaging and it’s a good working relationship.”

Labour’s defence spokesman Phil Goff says the problems lie with Mr Brownlee, not the defence force or the ministry.

“That’s effectively a vote by the minister of no confidence by the defence force, but I’ve got to say I’ve got every confidence in the defence force and no confidence in the minister.”

Way to go Big Gerry. These are the people we put in harms way. You as Minister are supposed to?back them, not slag them off.

If he thought the advice he has been receiving thus far is sub par it is going to get worse, and the advice whispered into media and opposition MPs’ ears will prove embarrassing to Gerry.

If John Key was smart he’d be replacing his Defence Minister, because there is going to be trouble.

In this I agree with Phil Goff, and it hurts to say that.


– NZNewswire