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Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume III



War Cabinet are of the opinion that it is necessary in order to provide the quantities of foodstuffs required for the United Kingdom and the Armed Forces of the United Nations, and as well to meet the requirements of urgent and essential services in New Zealand, to withdraw within a measurable period a total of up to 17,500 men from the New Zealand Armed Forces for return to industry.

It is recommended:


That in accordance with approval expressed by the Combined Chiefs of Staff, and in view of local tactical considerations, subject to the agreement of the Commander, South Pacific Area as to time, the 3rd New Zealand Division be withdrawn from participation in active operations in the South Pacific area.


That arrangements be made in the meantime for the return of 12,000 men to New Zealand from the 3rd Division for direction to and employment in essential industry as follows:

Farming 7000
Butter and cheese factories 300
Freezing works 1000
Building and constructional work 1800
Sawmilling 800
Coalmining 300
Railways 800

That the men be returned to New Zealand in batches commencing at the earliest possible date and extending over the period up to October 1944.


That in order to facilitate the selection of men for return to New Zealand a survey be made of the men in the Division, particulars to be obtained in respect of each man to include full details of past employment history, and whether prepared to volunteer for work in any one or more of the industries specified in (b) above.

page 440

That details regarding the above survey and the return of men to New Zealand be mutually arranged between the Army Department and the National Service Department and be generally in accordance with the plan set out in Appendix ‘A’ and Appendix ‘B’ of the paper entitled ‘Man-power Policy’ dated 30 March 1944.1


That men who are to be returned to New Zealand will be informed in writing by the National Service Department of their obligation for industrial service. Those who are Grade I, II or III be granted 28 days' leave on pay and then released from the Army on indefinite leave without pay. On release they shall receive a mufti allowance determined according to the usual procedure.


That men who are found unsuitable for work in industries stated in paragraph (b), or who refuse to undertake such work on return to New Zealand, be re-mobilized.


That a nucleus Divisional organization be retained to enable a reorganized Division to be formed for operations in the Pacific in 1945, following the return from Europe of the 2nd New Zealand Division, should this be decided.


That the nucleus divisional organization will be responsible for:


Training of men in jungle and islands warfare to complete the formation of a reorganized Division.


Maintenance of the base organization in New Caledonia.


Care and maintenance of equipment and installations throughout the area.


That in the meantime units will operate in gradually reducing strengths and will remain at present stations until so far reduced that it is undesirable to retain them there any longer or they are relieved for some other reason.


That as units are brought down to cadre basis they should be withdrawn to New Caledonia, always retaining as far as possible the framework of the Division so as to be capable of reconstruction later.


That men who are retained as part of the nucleus divisional organization will be given a period of 28 days' leave in New Zealand with full pay—time when leave will be given will be decided in the discretion of the General Officer Commanding.

In War Cabinet, 4 April 1944. Approved.