Job losses at the New Zealand Defence Force army base in
Dunedin are being considered as part of a South Island
The Fourth Otago and Southland Battalion Group (4 O'South)
will be amalgamated with the Second Canterbury, Nelson,
Marlborough and West Coast Battalion Group on December 7.
The new unit will be known as the 2/4 Battalion of the Royal
New Zealand Infantry Regiment, of which the yet-to-be-created
Otago and Southland company will be a sub-unit.
NZDF land component commander Brigadier Mark Wheeler said the
change would bring a reduction in the number of civilian
staff within Otago, of which there were five in Dunedin.
"How this occurs is still under consideration," he said.
The move to amalgamated headquarters was also likely to lead
to fewer regular force staff in Dunedin, he said.
"These changes require less regular force staff in the three
new amalgamated headquarters but this is being achieved
through reassignment within the normal posting process. For
Otago the number of soldiers being trained is unlikely to
change significantly," Brig Wheeler said.
Battalion mergers throughout the country were part of changes
outlined in the Defence White Paper of 2010, which aimed to
save the NZDF up to $400 million, to be reinvested in the
Nationally, reserve units were being more closely aligned,
and in some cases integrated, with regular force army units.
Six existing territorial force battalion groups were being
reorganised into three infantry battalions, responsible for
generating forces capable of operational deployment.
"The changes provide greater sustainability and flexibility,
and ensure the territorial force is able to contribute more
effectively to the delivery of NZDF outputs," Brig Wheeler
He said the NZDF was committed to maintaining a presence in
all existing territorial force locations as well as the
historic relationship between reserve forces and the wider
"Facilities currently used by 4 O'South will still be used
after the amalgamation, although there may be further
consideration around the consolidation of defence facilities
within each geographic region," he said.
Battalions would continue to train collectively and each
would be aligned to a regular force unit, enabling more
comprehensive training with the option of supplementing units
deployed on operations and exercises, Brig Wheeler said.
"It is anticipated the amalgamation will ensure reserve
forces are better prepared to integrate into regular force
units, resulting in greater numbers of well-trained personnel
able to deploy at short notice. This will allow for a more
seamless transition of personnel between a full and part-time
military and civilian workforce," he said.