Budget 2023: Defence boost to stop personnel leaving as 'geostrategic competition in our region' intensifies

The Government is spending up large on the Defence Force in an attempt to cauterize record numbers of personnel leaving.

The Prime Minister has announced a whopping $747m will come from this year's Budget to boost 90 percent of staff's pay and upgrade infrastructure. 

Last week, over a cuppa in England, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins caught up with Kiwi troops training Ukranian soldiers. And on Monday, he was back in Parliament admitting they and their colleagues aren't paid enough.

"It's unfair and it's leading to significant rates of attrition," Hipkins said. 

In the last two years, the Defence Force lost almost a third of its full-time, uniformed personnel.

The situation is so bad that last year the Chief of Defence told Newshub he needed help.

"Now I need further support to keep delivering for the Government," Chief of Defence Force Air Marshal Kevin Short said.

Further support was deployed on Monday, with Defence Minister Andrew Little calling it a "moral obligation" to pay personnel fairly.

The Budget package contains $419 million to boost pay. Many staff will get pay rises of between $4000 and $15,000 from July 1, meaning 85 percent of the Defence Force will be paid competitive market rates.

"The largest pay increase to our hardworking Defence Force personnel in decades," Hipkins called it. 

More than $328 million will go towards upgrading infrastructure like the Navy's two frigates and improving or building more Defence houses.

It's all aimed at keeping the force in New Zealand's Defence Force so in times of need it's there.

"The geostrategic competition both in our own region and further afield continues to intensify and call upon our resources," said Hipkins. 

"This Government expects this will go a long way to address attrition and continue to make Defence a career of choice," said Little.

It's a Budget boost to boost our troops.