Reduced Grant for Veterans Falls Well Short of the Mark
Andrew Williams MP
Spokesperson for Veterans’ Affairs
24 April 2013
Reduced Government Grant for Veterans Falls Well Short of the Mark
New Zealand First challenged the Government this week to renew $1 million of funding to RSA support services to help veterans gain access to health and social services. This was an arrangement that New Zealand First negotiated in 2007/2008 and was paid out to the RSA over a four year period.
"The Government's response has been to grant only $150,000 funding which NZ First Veterans' Affairs spokesperson Andrew Williams says falls well short of the mark."
“This significant cut in the funding, down from $250,000, with no apparent commitment to the ongoing welfare programme in future years, will come as a disappointment for the many veterans and their families who are helped so much via this fund.” says Mr Williams.
“The fund went a long way in helping support veterans and their families in times of difficulty. The grant provided much needed assistance in taking veterans to hospitals and medical appointments. How can the Government, right on ANZAC Day, be so miserable as to significantly reduce funding for such a worthy cause as the veterans of this country?" says Mr Williams.
“Often the only contact and assistance for veterans, and their widows and widowers are from the RSA support services. Those who served in the armed forces should be treated with dignity and respect."
"This Government can find tens of millions of dollars for Defence when it needs to, such as the recent $250 million purchase of second-hand Seasprite helicopters, but can't commit at least $1 million long-term to maintaining this well regarded RSA social service for our veterans."
“There is no excuse for the Government to be mean-spirited towards veterans who have more than done their duty, and the full long-term funding should be re-instated."