16 May 2012: Navy patrol ships continue to protect NZ waters
Royal New Zealand Navy patrol ships will continue protecting New Zealand’s coastal waters 365 days of the year, the Navy has confirmed.
Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral Tony Parr, says New Zealanders will notice little difference as the Navy re-organises how it delivers its patrol commitments during a period when it is focused on regenerating personnel numbers after a period of higher than usual attrition.
“The Fleet Activity Plan for the coming year means that at least two, but often three, of the four IPVs will be available at any given time to undertake operational tasks around New Zealand,” he says. “Indeed, the priority for manning of ships is to the patrol force and the Navy will look to other ships to pick up more of the patrol tasks during these periods to ensure our waters are protected.”
RA Parr says previously the Navy operated the fleet with an objective of having all ships that are not engaged in maintenance available for operations. But it has been recognised that this model is unsustainable after a period of high attrition. In the coming year there will be times when ships that are not in maintenance will be at reduced availability.
“We’ve recognised that it is not only the ships that must rotate through maintenance, but also our people. Our people are important and so we’ve taken measures with them in mind, whilst maintaining our ability to carry out tasks required by the Government."
RA Parr says the Defence Force’s senior leadership have committed to lifting morale and slowing the number of people leaving all three Services.
“The changes Navy have made to the Fleet Activity Plan will allow our personnel to benefit from some respite – to conduct personal and professional development; to allow people to be at home with family longer; and for people to clear accumulated leave. This is an active approach to addressing issues our people have said are important.
“This is a period of people regeneration in order for the Navy to remain operationally effective in the long term. But our ships will continue to be at sea on duty, doing the jobs that matter to New Zealanders,” says RA Parr.