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Territorials Bill Jumps First Obstacle

National Member of Parliament Wayne Mapp has today expressed his appreciation to Parliament for supporting his Volunteers Employment Protection Bill through its first reading. Parliament last night unanimously agreed to send Dr Mapp's Private Members Bill to a select committee for further consideration.

"This is the support our Territorial Force soldiers need from parliamentarians. Proper recognition of our Territorial Force soldiers would be a sensible and timely move," Dr Mapp said.

"Our forces in East Timor are now bolstered by a large number of Territorials, and those part-time soldiers need to know their jobs are protected.

"People who are willing to take those sort of risks should be commended. Unfortunately many of them find their jobs are imperilled when they are required to be absent so they can participate in the nation's defence.

"The Volunteers Employment Protection Bill would protect those civilian jobs, and is in line with similar moves recently announced by the Australian Government to protect the jobs of their military Reserves. I would anticipate the Select Committee will also find ways to support employers who make the commitment to employ Territorial soldiers.

"The Territorials give our young people valuable training in areas such as self-esteem, and help New Zealand play its role in world-wide defence. I anticipate that Parliament will rapidly progress this initiative, so that we can provide worthwhile job protection in time for the May 2001 deployment to East Timor," Wayne Mapp said.

Ends

A printable formatted copy of this press release will be available on http://www.national.org.nz along with an archive of previous releases.


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