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Minister Bows To Pressure

Minister Bows To Pressure

Veterans’ Affairs Minister Michael Woodhouse has bowed to pressure to extend eligibility for the veteran’s pension, says New Zealand First.

“New Zealand First has pushed for urgent changes to be made to the Veterans Support Bill after appalling treatment of veterans who have been brushed off and been unable to receive war pensions and disability allowances,” says Veterans Affairs Spokesperson Andrew Williams.

“The Minister has finally seen the light, and brought in an amendment to extend eligibility for the veteran’s pension to all veterans over the age of 65 - this mirrors the amendments we have put forward.

“We’ve been sitting in select committee hearings for several months with submissions being heard from all quarters seeking this significant change. The Minister has steadfastly refused to entertain any inclusion of this provision and has knocked us back time and again.

“It would seem change is only now happening as a result of the Minister being backed into a corner. He should have realised all along that this was the right thing to do for our veterans.

“New Zealand First is continuing to advocate that all veterans should receive the benefit of the doubt with medical claims.

“The New Zealand Defence Force has conceded in the past that veterans would not be disadvantaged as a result of errors in handling their medical records. They need to honour that commitment in good faith in recognition of all those who have served their country.

“We have put forward an amendment for the Bill today that veterans must be given the benefit of the doubt arising from missing or insufficient NZDF medical records as to whether a veteran suffered injury, illness or death on operational service, and this is presumed to have occurred while the veteran was performing qualifying operational service,” says Mr Williams.

ENDS

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