Our intentions: Starting our review of the New Zealand Defence Force

22 September 2021: The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has committed to stop inappropriate and harmful behaviour in the organisation. We are reviewing NZDF's progress in creating a safe, respectful, and inclusive environment for all.

NZDF introduced Operation Respect in 2016 to prevent harmful and inappropriate behaviour in the armed forces and, where it did happen, to make sure its systems and processes could deal with it appropriately. This behaviour includes discrimination, harassment, bullying, and inappropriate sexual behaviour including sexual violence.

An independent review of Operation Respect was completed in 2020 and made 44 recommendations. One of the recommendations was to ask the Auditor-General to audit progress on Operation Respect’s specific outcomes every two years, for the next 20 years. NZDF accepted this recommendation and asked us to monitor its progress.

For the first five years, we will carry out a series of performance audits of Operation Respect.

What we’re focusing on

Our first performance audit will consider whether the way that Operation Respect has been designed is likely to achieve the programme’s aims and to address the recommendations in the review.

To do this, we will look at whether NZDF has the necessary commitment from leadership, strategy, resources, and monitoring arrangements to achieve Operation Respect’s objectives.

We will also establish a framework to measure progress. By collecting baseline data now, we can better report on NZDF’s progress.

The difference we expect to make 

This long-term programme allows us to regularly report to NZDF, Parliament, and the public about NZDF’s progress in achieving Operation Respect's intended outcomes.

Our first audit will show whether Operation Respect is now set up to meet its objectives.

Our work will provide an independent view of how Operation Respect is progressing and make recommendations, where appropriate.

If you’d like to make a suggestion or ask a question, please email us.

We expect to report on our first audit in mid-2022.