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Labour: Honouring our veterans

Labour: Honouring our veterans

Labour is committed to honouring the veterans who have served our country around the world, Prime Minister Helen Clark and Veterans' Affairs Minister George Hawkins said today. Labour's Veterans Affairs policy is being released today.

Over the past six years Labour has made the well-being of veterans a priority, through the establishment of case management services to support veterans, and their families.

"Labour in government will continue to develop this highly successful case management system, and additional funding has been provided for that in Budget 2005," Helen Clark and George Hawkins said.

"We have worked closely with veterans to ensure they receive the health and other entitlements they need and deserve. We will also be delivering a formal apology to Vietnam veterans, acknowledging that they were exposed to a toxic environment.

"During Labour's two terms in government we have ensured that New Zealand appropriately commemorates the significant military engagements overseas in which our people served. Those events are a significant part of our nation’s history and must not be forgotten.

"Labour will continue to ensure that veterans' perspectives are included in planning the events around major commemorations.

"Labour has enabled the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior to be built and dedicated, as a tribute to all those who have laid down their lives for New Zealand.

"Now we are working on the establishment of the New Zealand War Memorial Park, adjacent to the National War Memorial, and the Tomb.

"We are also developing a New Zealand Memorial at Hyde Park Corner in London to remember the contribution and sacrifice made by New Zealand alongside Britain and its defence, especially during the two World Wars of the twentieth century.

"As well a New Zealand Memorial at the United Nations War Cemetery in Pusan, Korea is being dedicated this November.

"The overwhelming public response to the return of the Unknown Warrior, and to other commemorations, also represents a growing understanding of the impact war has had in shaping the country New Zealand is today.

"I have been proud to lead delegations of veterans to commemorations and to encourage young people to take an interest in and understand what happened to earlier generations.

"Labour has also adopted the Royal New Zealand RSA's proposal to designate 2006 as the 'Year of the Veteran', in order to focus further attention on the contributions veterans have made to our nation," Helen Clark and George Hawkins said.

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