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Veterans shortchanged in Govt U-turn

Veterans shortchanged in Govt U-turn

National’s U-turn in adopting Labour’s proposed amendment to the Veterans’ Support Bill to allow all veterans deployed overseas in a conflict zone to receive a veteran’s pension sadly leaves them shortchanged, says Labour’s Veterans’ Affairs Spokesperson, Phil Goff.

“This U-turn is not the good news it seems on the surface. The decision to gut the Law Commission’s recommendation that Labour wants to implement removes most of the financial benefits from getting a veteran’s pension and shortchanges our aging servicemen and women.

“The major financial recognition those on the veterans’ pension get is a lump sum payment of $5700 when they die, which goes their families.

“The payment is valued by those on the pension because it relieves their families of their funeral expenses.

“It is a small but concrete form of thanks to veterans for their service, rather than just words.

“It is also recognition, especially for our oldest veterans who served in World War Two and Korea, who were sometimes absent for years. It acknowledges the sacrifices made by families through separation and the trauma many veterans had to deal with when they returned.

“The cost of the Law Commission’s recommendation is not great. It is $11.1 million in 2014/15 and reduces quickly to $8.4 million by 2017/18. That reflects the fact that the ranks of our veterans are thinning rapidly.

“This is the centenary of World War One. Adopting Labour’s recommendation not only meets the requests of the RNZRSA and veterans, it is a tangible way of thanking those who have given their services before they pass on.

“By gutting the Law Commission’s recommendation and taking away the practical impact National is penny-pinching and shortchanging our veterans,” Phil Goff said.

ends

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