No. Members of the Armed Forces serve by virtue of their oath of allegiance which is not subject to an employment agreement.
To become part of the Armed Forces, a person has to make the following attestation:
“I, [name], solemnly promise and swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to our Sovereign Lady the Queen, her heirs and successors, and that I will faithfully serve in the New Zealand Naval Forces/the New Zealand Army/the Royal New Zealand Air Force, and that I will loyally observe and obey all orders of Her Majesty, her heirs and successors, and of the officers set over me, until I shall be lawfully discharged. So help me God.”
There is a mixture of law that applies to the service of a member of the Armed Forces, made up of statute, common law, and prerogative. The important points are that a member of the Armed Forces serves at the pleasure of the Crown, and they have an obligation of loyalty and obedience to the Crown and their superior officers. Although the NZDF does not have the same obligation of loyalty towards individual service people, the Crown must act reasonably and lawfully. For example, when a decision is made that could adversely affect a member of the Armed Forces, the person making that decision must observe natural justice, reasonableness, and the law. These things are relevant to both the process leading to the decision, and the decision itself.
Because a member of the Armed Forces does not have the ability to negotiate their conditions of service, and because decisions can be made about them in a more unilateral way than civilian employees, the right to complain is important.
Members of the Armed Forces make many sacrifices and rely on the people senior to them to treat them fairly and in accordance with the rules. Normally this happens, but in a human system mistakes and bad decisions can be made. If you think that you have been treated unfairly, you can talk to Frontline Law about what options are open to you.
Frontline Law is a team of talented lawyers, most of whom have previously served in the Armed Forces, New Zealand Police, and other uniformed organisations.
The first step in getting support is to talk with a lawyer from Frontline Law about your situation and see what options we can offer you. Contact Frontline Law for a free initial consultation.