13 Feb 2012

Army cuts reserve soldier numbers

10:22 pm on 13 February 2012

The New Zealand Army is reducing the number of reserve soldiers by a third as part of cost-cutting and restructuring changes.

The plan has been revealed in a Defence Force post-election briefing to the incoming minister.

The briefing says the Cabinet agreed in August last year to cut the army reserve or territorial force by 600 funded positions to no more than 1200.

The Defence Force says the move will save $9.25 million and the current six battalions will be merged into three.

The Labour Party says the Government hasn't considered how that might hurt it or the wider army.

A former territorial solder says a reduction to the number of reserve soldiers could undermine the ability to help in peacekeeping missions overseas.

Carl Scott, who held the rank of corporal, says cuts could leave New Zealand short of man power.

He says in East Timor, New Zealand was able to meet its obligations only with the help of the territorial force.