Our Structure

The Council

The Defence Employer Support Council (DESC) is comprised of 22 motivated and experienced members who have a wide range of expertise and experience in public, private, and non-profit sectors. These members provide a voice from the different regions of New Zealand and also for large industry sectors.

Primarily, DESC provides support for Defence People in civilian employment. They also educate employers about the benefits of having employees train in the military, and provide the potential for building strategic partnerships between organisations and the NZDF.

Although legislation is already provided for reservists to train without risking loss of employment, DESC interacts with employers of Defence People in order to address any concerns.

The Secretariat

The DESC Secretariat is a business unit of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and acts as a vital link between the NZDF and DESC members. Its role is to:

  • implement initiatives on behalf of DESC
  • provide military input and advice to DESC
  • provide advice to employers regarding their rights and obligations
  • advise reserve force personnel on their rights and obligations, and
  • co-ordinate events and communications on behalf of the DESC.

The Secretariat consists of a small dedicated team focusing on public affairs, policy advice, and administration co-ordination. It has access to the significant resources of the NZDF and has a wealth of experience on board. 

For Secretariat enquiries please contact us.

Regional employer working groups

In addition to the DESC secretariat, there are 8 Regional Employer Support Working Groups that report to the DESC.

  • Auckland and Northland
  • Waikato
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Taranaki
  • Manawatū and Kāpiti Coast
  • Wellington
  • Canterbury and Upper South Island
  • Otago and Southland

The regional committees exist to engage with Defence People and their employers by providing a forum for open discussion.

Each group has representatives from local reserve force units, employers, and community leaders.