These things happen in cycles but one thing is certain they always happen, nothing new at all. The cycles that come to mind in just my lifetime were the mining boom, the circuit, covid and MIQ as any change/oppourtunity in general routine cause anyone/everyone to re-think their situation, and rightly so as family and self improvement are forefront in anyones life plan. Whether or not you act on it depends on the perceived gains outweighing the current situation in terms of overall benefit and once the pendulum swings the seed of change is planted. All this can vary from simply more money (a major consideration nowadays), better work/life balance (ie ad hoc hours), family commitments (ie posting considerations) to overall job satisfaction and progression (marching forward vs marking time and lets be honest no one wants to make a career of repetitive nebulous BS forever).The Navy currently has funding for 2,230 people, but Proctor said the service’s ideal end strength is about 2,340. As of Nov. 30, it had 2,117 in service, he said.
So the RNZN is underfunded by 110 people and at 30/11/22 was 113 people short of what it's funded for and 223 people short of what it actually requires. That's a whole frigate and an IPV crew short. Not good at all.
The service has “often struggled” to hit recruitment targets, Proctor noted, with the group coming in next year representing half of the service’s goal. Part of the problem is the highly competitive labor market.“If the current attrition rate of 16.5% can be arrested, it is expected [that we] will have sufficient sailors to operate the rest of the fleet,” a Navy spokesperson told Defense News. “However, there remains a level of uncertainty until this attrition rate is reversed. This requires a number of initiatives to take effect, including addressing the widening gap between our sailor remuneration and what the highly competitive job market is offering.”
So the attrition rate is 16.5% and they can't arrest it at the moment. People are voting with their feet and the quarantine deployment has done significant harm to the RNZN and NZDF as a whole. Our political masters should be very proud of themselves; they've found another way to destroy the RNZN and NZDF.
You will find those numbers short will be in specific vital areas in terms of the amount of ships sitting idle as they have the overall numbers of people to put to sea but then being even 1-2 vital pers required for that particular ship in key appointments renders essentially the entire crew redundant due to overall safety, operation and effectiveness hence the conducting other training, leave and TODs just to keep the remaining members current, relevant and otherwise employed.
I disagree with Paul Buchanans assumption that navy made a mistake in "acquiring more ships" as in fact they didnt acquire "more" ships they merely replaced old ships with more capability and multi-role options and if anything overall fleet numbers have actually dropped and if anything we should have actually been in a better position considering the older ships generally required larger crews with more labour intensive systems vs todays more modern minimum manned and automated processes. The crewing required for the 4 Leanders alone would numbers wise cover the entire fleet today.
The irony is the shorter they get in certain trades only then compounds the problem as the few remaining then generally have to take up the slack or other trades have to take on more responsibility meaning they are now over worked, end up burning out and they themselves ultimately end up leaving and the cycle spirals. Attrition is always a problem especially if there is no redundancy to cover any gap in capability created as some trades literally require experience and expertise to fill, something you cannot recruit overnight. Its not unique to NZ and even big spenders like Australia and Canada go through these cycles. Australia has been paying incentive/retention payments as far back as the Timor days for select roles and that is on top of their already comparitively high (to us anyway) salaries and allowances so perhaps its not all about the $$$ and maybe more re the conditions? who knows but if they do not get on top of the issue and allow it to slide to far into the negatives then they will literally grind to an eventual halt, whether they like it or not. Some tough decisions need to be made.