COVID-19 update from NZDF Chief Joint Defence Services

Line of Defence Magazine - 26 March 2020 Update

Unite Against COVID-19

In the first of a possible series of COVID-19 updates to suppliers to NZDF, Chief of Joint Defence Services BRIG Rob Krushka MNZM, outlined how Defence is responding to the virus and the impact of lock down.

In the update of 24 March, BRIG Krushka emphasised that importance of the NZDF remaining able to operate and to support the government, including continuing to engage with suppliers in accordance with the changed circumstances.

“While most, if not all of us, are experiencing very challenging times right now, it’s an important time for us all to show Kotahitanga [unity] and Manaakitanga [support] to ensure that our nation responds appropriately to this challenge,” stated BRIG Krushka. “We also need to ensure that the NZDF is in the best possible position to continue to meet our mission and respond to COVID-19.

“NZDF has taken significant steps to reduce our activity levels and we will only be focussing on activities that directly support the Government’s response to COVID-19. As such the NZDF will need to show leadership and meet Government intent of only conducting essential duties in order to combat the spread of this disease. It is acknowledged that our reduced activity levels will have an impact on some of our suppliers as we reorient to only keeping essential services operating, however this is a rapidly evolving situation and we will need to remain flexible with regards our ability to turn activities on or off as required to meet Government requirements.  

“We also know that these challenges will continue to intensify in the weeks ahead and possibly continue for months. It is therefore imperative that we hold onto the above core values, operating together with transparency. For this we will commit to keeping you as informed and supported as we can.”

BRIG Krushka emphasised the necessity for good health and safety practices, asking suppliers to ensure that staff working at or delivering to NZDF facilities are familiar with and follow any guidance as outlined in the Level 4 Response and any related NZDF policies and procedures.

“If your company operates permanently or regularly delivers a service on or to camps, bases and NZDF offices, you should be in regular contact with your NZDF contract manager to confirm the status and requirements for your support during this time,” he stated.

CJDS indicated that the NZDF had received a “significant number” of requests from suppliers asking to be designated as ‘critical suppliers’ in order to remain operational to support NZDF activities, and that due to the number of these suppliers would not be responded to individually.  

“Our obligation and commitment is to eliminate transmission of COVID 19 and in doing so the protection of life, as a result we plan to communicate directly with those suppliers whose goods and/or services that we deem essential over the next 4 weeks and letting them know what it is that we may require of them during the Level 4 period.”

According to BRIG Krushka, current procurement activity is being reviewed “with the intent to prioritise and scale down accordingly,” with further clarity to be provided in a later update.

He reassured suppliers that the NZDF Payments team will continue to work throughout the duration of the lock down, thus enabling invoices to continue to be paid “as per normal business practice.”  

Referring to the move by organisations to remote working arrangements, he reminded suppliers of the need to continue to meet NZDF security requirements “regardless of location (physical or digital).”

He also highlighted to need for suppliers providing essential and business critical goods or services to NZDF to:

  • Have Business Continuity Plans in place; 
  • Continue to operate in an open and transparent way, “advising your contract manager, and/or Defence Commercial Services if and when you identify any impacts on your supply chain, including any likely future impacts”
  • Prioritise NZDF in the event that it requires the urgent supply of a product or service to meet urgent operational needs.
  • Inform the NZDF as soon as possible “if any higher government priorities, in particular in response to COVID-19, are impacting on your ability to deliver services to NZDF.”
  • Advise their contract manager or Defence Commercial Services as early as possible if they are struggling to meet commercial commitments due to impacts brought on by the response to COVID-19.

He reiterated that the primary point of contact for all communication between suppliers and the NZDF remains with their contract manager, or where this is not known – or if in relation to any specific COVID-19 concerns – with Defence Commercial Services.

For more information, contact the New Zealand Defence Industry Association or NZDF Defence Commercial Services.