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War Pensions Bill Referred To A Select Committee

3 May 2002

The referral today of a War Pensions Bill to a select committee is a significant step towards addressing a key veterans' issue, Veterans' Affairs Minister Mark Burton said today.

"The War Pensions Amendment Bill (No 2) provides formal recognition of the special status of New Zealand veterans who have given service in a war or emergency environment," Mark Burton said.

"For decades the legitimate concerns of veterans' have been ignored. This Bill is one of many measures taken by this government in response to those concerns.

"The Bill fulfils the government’s promise to transfer the Veteran’s Pension from the Social Welfare (Transitional Provisions) Act 1990 into the War Pensions Act 1954 and to enable veterans of working age to participate in voluntary or paid employment, should they be able.

"This means that those in receipt of a Veterans' Pension will no longer be seen as beneficiaries – a longstanding concern. The Bill also addresses issues raised by veterans' groups - in the main, Vietnam veterans - who see the current framework for eligibility for Veterans Pension as prohibitive, by discouraging them from returning to work.

"Encouraging working age veterans to participate in employment will, for many, benefit their overall rehabilitation. The new provisions are forward thinking and will provide for the future needs of younger members of the veteran population," Mark Burton said.

Veterans under retiring age will have a free zone up to $80 of earnings; thereafter $0.30 of the Veterans Pension will be abated for every dollar earned between $80 - $180, and $0.70 abated for every dollar earned over $180 per week.

Parliament today referred the bill to the Social Services Select Committee for consideration, with an instruction that the committee present its final report by the 28 June 2002.

Ends

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