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Government urged to honour the price of citizenship

Māori Party urge Government to honour the price of citizenship

Māori Party Co-leaders Tariana Turia and Te Ururoa Flavell say that the proud contribution of veterans who have fought for our country is still some way from being fully honoured.

“Tā Apirana Ngata argued that Māori participation in the First World War was the price of citizenship. This year – the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One and the 50th anniversary of the first New Zealand contingent to serve in South Vietnam – would have been a significant opportunity to acknowledge the contribution and reputation of the Māori Battalion, the Vietnam veterans and all those returned service people who served in overseas deployments,” says Tariana Turia.

“We were disappointed that the Veterans’ Support Bill continues to restrict eligibility for a veterans’ pension to those veterans who suffer an impairment disability of 52%. We have taken up the case with the Government, but it would appear that they are prepared to ignore the calls from veterans to remove the restrictions on eligibility in the Bill as it moves forward."

“The Social Services select committee had an ideal opportunity to pick up the recommendations of the New Zealand Law Commission to lower the entitlement threshold to zero percent; a recommendation strongly supported by the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association and veterans across the land," says Te Ururoa Flavell.

“We also wait with interest the conclusions regarding the case presented by Tairawhiti Vietnam veterans and whanau who seek support and assistance for veterans in their area (due 9 May). We must never forget the price of citizenship paid so fully by our veterans."

“We will be voting in support of the Veterans’ Support Bill at subsequent stages, but we are also taking the step of supporting Phil Goff’s amendment to extend eligibility for a veterans’ pension to all veterans who have served in overseas operational deployments who are eligible for New Zealand Super."

“We strongly believe that every effort imaginable should be made to extend support to those who have served their country with such honour and courage."

ENDS

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