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Government Ignoring War Veterans' Plight

9 February 2002

The Government is washing its hands of the plight of residents of the Levin War Veterans Home which is faced with closure next month, says National's Veterans' Affairs spokesperson Richard Worth.

"A large group of elderly people who deserve to be honoured and cared for by this country have been bluntly told that they have to find somewhere else to live.

"The Government has known ever since it took office that this Home and the three others like it in New Zealand have been facing financial difficulties. Yet despite a plea for help from the Patriotic and Canteen Funds Board, it has not listened.

"War veterans deserve special consideration in our community. These people were prepared to offer their lives for this country so it is simply not acceptable to see them tossed out of their home.

"And it is naïve of Veterans' Affairs Minister, Mark Burton, to say that the four veterans' homes only cater for a very small percentage of veterans. Does that make them any less important?

"The Government must take this issue firmly on board because it is unrealistic to expect the proposed trusts being set up to run these homes being able to assume heavy financial obligations without some Government support.

"This is yet another example of the Government ignoring veterans' needs. It has already failed to deal with representations for a veterans' medical card, similar to the Australian gold card scheme.

"There is a duty to make sure that these veterans are properly looked after," says Richard Worth.

Ends

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