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What has National ever done for veterans?

Hon Rick Barker
Minister of Veterans’ Affairs

8 October 2008 Media Statement
What has National ever done for veterans?

It is pleasing to see that National has acknowledged the hard work that Labour has put in to advance the interests of veterans, Minister Rick Barker has said.

National say they will endorse the Memorandum of Understanding, that they support the rewrite of the War Pensions Act and the integration of Veterans Affairs New Zealand (VANZ) back into the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF). Three significant achievements for veterans under Labour.

Labour has done a lot of good work for veterans.

• Case management for veterans since 2001.

• A Memorandum of Understanding was signed with Viet Nam veterans, and excellent progress has been made in its implementation.

• 72 ex-gratia payments totalling $2,545,000 have been made to Viet Nam veterans and their families for specific health conditions. This is in addition to the more than 1400 Viet Nam veterans who are receiving War Disablement Pensions.

• Viet Nam Veterans and their Families Trust has so far made 102 grants totalling around $800,000.

• More than 5,400 veterans and family members have registered with VANZ. We are actively encouraging veterans to register to make sure they get access to their entitlements.

• Funded Tribute 08.

• Viet Nam veterans have been offered free medical assessments. We will use the information gained through this process to determine what else needs to be done for these veterans.

• VANZ was reviewed and integrated into the NZDF, which will result in more efficiency in the processing of the War Disablement Pension.

• The War Pensions Act is being reviewed and will be rewritten.

• Centres of excellence to support best practice in veterans’ welfare will be established.

• An expert panel will be appointed to ensure veterans’ concerns are heard and government receives high quality advice.

Under Labour veterans will continue to see improvements in the care and welfare of those who have put themselves in harms way for this country.

It was Labour who, all the way back in 1990 introduced the Veterans Pension, before that veterans received very little.


ENDS

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