Prime Minister John Key says the government has “not yet decided” whether to include the phrase “essential personnel” in the definition of “personnel”.
Key told Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report on Sunday that it was too early to make a decision on whether the phrase should be included.
“It’s not something that’s being worked on right now,” he said.
“We’re still trying to get the definition right, we’ll do our best to work through the issues around the definition and we’ll see how it goes.”
Key said the definition could change, as it was “very important” to ensure the “essential” elements of the definition were not overlooked.
The prime minister said he did not want to create unnecessary confusion about the definitions of “staff” and “person” but added it was important that staff were included in the “necessary” and essential elements of a department.
“I’m not going to make this mistake of thinking that it’s not important to have ‘essential personnel’, that’s important to be included,” Key said.”[There’s] no doubt about it that it is important for us to have those people, we’ve been very clear that we want to get those staff.
We want to keep those staff, and we’re not going anywhere.”
Key has previously said that the definition should be defined in a way that “does not undermine the integrity” of the Defence Force.
He also said he wanted to make sure the government had “clear and transparent definitions of what the terms mean”.
“What I’m saying is, let’s get those definitions right.
The Defence Force has previously indicated that it does not intend to include “essential and essential personnel” or “staff”.”
It is important to get that right.”
The Defence Force has previously indicated that it does not intend to include “essential and essential personnel” or “staff”.
A spokesperson for the Defence Minister said the Government would make “an ongoing assessment” of whether the definition was appropriate.
“The definition will be assessed by the Department of Defence, the Prime Minister and the Department for Human Services,” the spokesperson said.
“In the meantime, the Government will ensure that the Defence Forces have clear, transparent definitions for essential personnel and staff, as well as the appropriate personnel and support services.”
Key’s comments come after he made the announcement that the military would be abolished and replaced with the New Zealand Defence Force, which is to replace the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
The announcement was also met with widespread criticism, with many commentators saying the move was a “disaster for the country” and a “betrayal” of military families.