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National to create Veterans’ Gold Card


National to create Veterans’ Gold Card

National Party Leader Don Brash says a National Government will streamline veterans’ access to the health and welfare systems with a Veterans’ Gold Card.

“The Veterans’ Gold Card will provide a range of benefits where there is established need, including priority access to hospital services, such as surgical treatment, and access to Housing New Zealand accommodation and other services.

“Veterans with appropriate qualifying service and who receive New Zealand Superannuation, or are entitled to a war disablement pension, will be eligible for the Veterans’ Gold Card.

“The fact that at present a veteran seeking a war disablement pension expects to wait a minimum of four months for a decision, while somebody seeking a sickness benefit from WINZ can have that decided within four weeks, is not good enough. We need to do much better,” says Dr Brash.

National has also signalled it will:

Work with, and give support to, all the War Veterans Homes in New Zealand, ensuring that they continue to meet the needs of the veteran community.

Commit to establish a Veterans Advisory Board. This board will provide independent advice to the Minister on issues of concern to the veteran community.

Carry out a full review of Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand (VANZ) to see if it is appropriate to resource it as a ‘one stop shop’ for the provision of services to veterans.

Review the veterans’ pension system.

On Agent Orange, National will:

Give an unqualified apology to Vietnam veterans and their families for the long-delayed recognition of the effects of that exposure.

Provide free annual medical examinations for Vietnam veterans, to include specific screening for conditions known to be associated with exposure to Agent Orange when requested.

Enhance medical care for the children and grandchildren of Vietnam veterans suffering from Agent Orange-related illnesses.

Commit to an ongoing review of international research relating to the effects of exposure to Agent Orange to ensure the established list of Agent Orange-related illnesses is updated on a regular basis.

Ends


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