Uni­form change for De­fence Force

The Dominion Post - - News - Matthew Tso matthew.tso@stuff.co.nz

The New Zealand De­fence Force has de­cided to ditch the army cam­ou­flage uni­form it spent $13.6 mil­lion on six years ago.

The cur­rent multi-ter­rain cam­ou­flage uni­form (MCU) – in­tro­duced in 2013 – will be re­placed with the New Zealand multi-ter­rain pat­tern (NZ MTP) uni­form.

The change comes af­ter a re­view and hun­dreds of com­plaints from per­son­nel about the kit. Stuff re­ported in April there were 716 re­ports high­light­ing un­fit ma­te­rial and man­u­fac­tur­ing faults in the uni­forms be­tween Jan­uary 2017 and Jan­uary this year.

A De­fence Force spokeswoma­n said feed­back had been one fac­tor in the uni­form re­vi­sion with changes in sup­plier ca­pac­ity; new tech­nol­ogy; and a de­sire to im­prove fit, form and func­tion also in­flu­enc­ing the de­ci­sion. The uni­form was also re­ported to be too hot to wear in some en­vi­ron­ments.

Re­view­ing and up­dat­ing uni­forms was rou­tine for the De­fence Force, she said.

The MCUs are worn by all ranks within the army and by De­fence per­son­nel de­ployed on op­er­a­tions. De­fence Force pub­li­ca­tion Army News said pro­duc­tion of the new uni­form was planned to be­gin later this year with dis­tri­bu­tion start­ing next year.

The NZ MTP uni­form was de­vel­oped in con­junc­tion with the De­fence Force’s sup­pli­ers, Work Wear Group. The spokeswoma­n said the cost was mostly cov­ered by an ex­ist­ing con­tract, though this could not be re­vealed due to com­mer­cial sen­si­tiv­ity.

Parts of the uni­form would be re­placed over a num­ber of years and would be cov­ered by the De­fence Force’s annual cloth­ing re­place­ment fund­ing.

The uni­forms would be man­u­fac­tured in New Zealand.

De­fence Min­is­ter Ron Mark, in 2016, then in Op­po­si­tion, com­mented on is­sues with the MCUs and lamented them be­ing pro­duced over­seas. He was pleased the uni­forms would be made do­mes­ti­cally.

The De­fence Force’s new multi-ter­rain pat­tern uni­form, above, will re­place the multi-ter­rain cam­ou­flage uni­form, in­set, af­ter only six years in use.

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