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Budget boosts Service Cemeteries upkeep

Budget boosts Service Cemeteries upkeep

The upkeep of New Zealand's Services Cemeteries has received a 209 per cent boost in this week's Budget.

Veterans' Affairs Minister George Hawkins said Service Cemeteries funding will increase by $544,000 in the 2003/04 financial year to $804,000.

The additional funding recognised Service Cemeteries were places of national significance, Mr Hawkins said.

"As such, it is important that they are maintained in perpetuity in a way that recognises the service of those who died defending their country," he said.

Services Cemeteries maintenance is a partnership between cemetery authorities, the Royal New Zealand Returned Services Association and central government.

Cemetery authorities provide the land for Services Cemeteries free of charge, on the understanding central government contribute to the maintenance and development of the cemetery.

"This additional funding allows for an increase in the amount of money that central government contributes to maintenance and development costs," Mr Hawkins said.

He acknowledged the both the financial and 'hands on' contribution of Veteran volunteers to the day-to-day upkeep and maintenance of Services Cemeteries.

"Government greatly values the work of Veteran volunteers and increased would allow for additional support to be brought in to assist them, particularly in the area of deferred maintenance," he said.

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