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ACT Welcomes Equal Recognition For Vietnam Vets

ACT Welcomes Equal Recognition For Vietnam Veterans

Heather Roy Thursday, 7 December 2006 Press Releases - Defence

ACT New Zealand welcomes the government's acknowledgment of the issues faced by Vietnam veterans, and their move to deal with the consequences of the Vietnam War, says ACT National Security Spokesman, Heather Roy.

"New Zealand veterans of the Vietnam War were made to feel guilty about their role, but they served with the same distinction as the veterans of all previous foreign wars", Mrs Roy said.

"Today's announcement is a long-overdue recognition of their contribution, and the issues that arose from their participation in that conflict.

"In my email newsletter on November 10th I outlined ACT's veterans' policy, and I am delighted that the Government has undertaken to address the outstanding issues around the difficulties veterans have experienced. I intend making sure they follow through on their commitment.

"It is pleasing that the working party and its participants are satisfied with the conclusion that has been reached.

"The War Pensions Act 1954 must be urgently reviewed to ensure that not just World War I and II soldiers, but all veterans, are dealt with in the same way when they experience injury or illness as a result of serving their country. As part of this review, the list of conditions in Schedule 9 must be updated.

"Important issues are raised with modern warfare, especially in the light of the involvement of New Zealand troops in peacekeeping, counter- insurgency and anti-terrorist missions. There must be a recognition of future challenges that will arise.

"Governments of all persuasions must support the few who serve their country in pursuit of the freedoms that we all enjoy.

"It is important that cross-party support is gained for announcements such as today's - and for any legislation that may be introduced into the House as a result of these measures. Wayne Mapp enjoyed cross-party support for his Volunteers Employment Protection Amendment Act 2004 to deal with employers' support for Territorials, and it would be pleasing to think that future legislation in this vein would have unanimous support.

"Our veterans have contributed significantly to the freedom we enjoy today. They deserve more than a pageant and a Veterans' Year badge. Ongoing recognition is entirely appropriate as the Year of the Veteran draws to a close", Mrs Roy said.


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