Appendix 2: Terms of reference for our inquiry

Inquiry into New Zealand Defence Force payments to officers seconded to the United Nations.

Inquiry into the New Zealand Defence Force's payment of housing allowances to personnel seconded to the United Nations

15 April 2009

The Auditor-General has agreed to carry out an inquiry into matters associated with the payment of housing allowances to New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel seconded to the United Nations (UN). This document sets out the terms of reference for the inquiry.


On 1 July 2008 NZDF established a Court of Inquiry under the Armed Forces Discipline Act 1971 to examine concerns which had been identified with the way in which conditions of service for NZDF personnel seconded to the UN in New York were being administered.

The Court of Inquiry reported on 28 July 2008 and found that four NZDF personnel seconded to the UN had signed declarations that they were not receiving any housing subsidy from NZDF when allowances were being paid. More generally, the Court of Inquiry found that the UN's requirements for seconded staff were incompatible with NZDF's domestic employment responsibilities for its staff. It found that this conflict had not been fully understood or addressed at an organisational level since secondments began in 2001.

The previous Minister of Defence asked the Auditor-General to review the findings of the Court of Inquiry. In particular, he asked the Auditor-General to inquire into why NZDF did not address the apparent conflict between its policy and UN requirements when the issues received some attention in 2005, and whether any officers in NZDF encouraged or condoned the practice of signing false declarations to the UN.

The inquiry

The inquiry will examine:

  • how NZDF addressed the question of arrangements for staff seconded to the UN, particularly in relation to housing allowances and consistency with UN requirements;
  • whether any individuals within NZDF or any parts of NZDF encouraged, condoned, knew of, or acquiesced in the practice of seconded personnel signing false declarations to the UN; and
  • the consistency of treatment of individuals involved in the housing allowance issue by NZDF.

The inquiry will also consider any other matters that the Auditor-General considers it desirable to report on.

The inquiry will not examine any judicial proceedings.

The inquiry will be conducted under sections 16(1) and 18(1) of the Public Audit Act 2001. The Auditor-General will decide on the appropriate manner in which to report the findings once the inquiry has been completed.

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