Members of NZ Defence Forces' Overwatch at the 'Pride in Defence Conference'
21 February 2014
Netherlands think tank the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS) has ranked New Zealand number one for their integration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members in armed forces (http://www.hcss.nl/news/lgbt-military-index/873/).
Lieutenant General Tim Keating, New Zealand Chief of Defence Force, says, “Placing No.1 on the LGBT Military Index has come as a pleasant surprise to the NZ Defence Force (NZDF). We are an equal opportunity employer and we have always valued the diversity of our workforce. We do not discriminate against any of our Regular Force, Reserve Force, or civilian members based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
"The NZDF values diversity and recognises the benefits to the organisation of having a diverse and inclusive workplace. The diversity of our workplace reflects the composition of New Zealand society as well as the openness and respect that New Zealanders have for people of different backgrounds. We believe that a diverse workplace promotes equity and enhances productivity. Having an inclusive environment that embraces people’s individual differences provides opportunities for our personnel to achieve their full potential,” says Lieutenant General Keating.
Last year, 10 uniformed members of the NZDF and about 15 civilian members of Overwatch and their supporters marched in Auckland Pride 2013. Joining them were two members of the Australian Defence Force.
The Chief of Defence Force at that time, Lieutenant General Rhys Jones, publicly supported those who took part in the march. In a letter to a member of the public who wrote to express his concern at serving members of the NZDF being allowed to march as part of Auckland Pride 2013, General Jones said: “As Chief of Defence Force, I granted permission for members of the New Zealand Defence Force marching as part of the parade to wear their uniform. The uniform Defence Force members wear reflects a commitment they have made to serve their country. I have no doubt that during the parade they wore their uniform with pride and the community were able to acknowledge their service.”
In November 2013, Overwatch held a two-day ‘Pride in Defence Conference’. In partnership with Massey University, expert speakers and delegates from within New Zealand and around the world discussed ways to create inclusive cultures within large and complex organisations. At that conference, the NZDF launched an “It Gets Better” video which can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTeVu51mKCY
For more information please contact the Defence Communications Group: 021 487 980