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Time to do the right thing for our veterans

Time to do the right thing for our veterans

A Labour government will adopt the Law Commission’s recommendation to ensure all war veterans are eligible for a Veteran’s Pension, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says.

“Veterans are only eligible for the pension if they are considered ‘significantly’ disabled, or more specifically, have a 52 per cent or higher impairment.

“They have asked for this requirement to be dropped and a review by the Law Commission – set up by the former Labour Government – agreed.

“However, National has cynically refused, saying the change should ‘not progress at this point in time’.

“Now is the time. Time is something the veterans of World War Two, as well as the Korean, Malayan and Vietnam wars don’t have on their side. Age means their numbers are rapidly declining.

“Labour will scrap the disability requirement so all veterans can receive the pension. This will send the important message that the service of all veterans is valued.

“The Returned and Services Association fully endorses our policy. Its national president Don McIver says it would be a ‘real indication that the proud and dedicated service of our veterans, potentially with their lives having been put in harm’s way, is recognised as warranting special acknowledgement beyond that provided to New Zealand citizens generally by way of Superannuation’.

“The cost of this change is small; $11 million this year declining to $8 million in three years’ time as ranks thin.

“Labour is calling on the Government to back our amendment to the Veterans Support Bill enabling this change. The Bill will return to Parliament next month.

“If the Government rejects our amendment, a Labour government will do the right thing for our veterans. We honour their service and in return for putting themselves in harm’s way for their country, Labour will make sure they are looked after in their retirement,” David Cunliffe says.

Ends

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