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New Zealand Territorial Force Faces Crisis

New Zealand Territorial Force Faces Crisis

ACT New Zealand Defence Spokesperson Ken Shirley today released responses to written Parliamentary Questions revealing the parlous state of New Zealand's territorial services.

"Over the past 10 years there has been a steady decline in the number of New Zealanders participating in the territorial force, and we are now facing a crisis with the entire scheme facing collapse," Mr Shirley said.

"Each of the three forces has experienced a steady and dramatic decline - the Navy territorial force is today only 72 percent of the strength that it was 10 years ago; the Army's territorial force stands at 43 percent and the Air Force is at 48 percent of their respective strengths in 1992.

"The Labour Government has squeezed all the political mileage it could from the number of committed territorial soldiers who have served in Timor. In fact, our Timor force would have not been possible without the territorials' contribution.

"Many of these territorials lost their jobs or sacrificed their careers to serve with the force in Timor.

"In most Western democracies territorials are given full encouragement, with military reservists being cherished for their contribution to national security. In New Zealand, we face the pathetic situation where the territorial service is punished, and amending legislation to protect the jobs of serving territorial soldiers has been left to languish on the Parliamentary Order Paper.

"I call upon the Government to address this important issue," said Mr Shirley.

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