Maori Party Negotiating Right to the Wire for Veterans
Maori Party Negotiating Right to the Wire for Veterans’ Support
The Maori Party is pleased that its negotiations with National have enabled some immediate and increased support available for veterans.
“First off, we welcomed the decision to enable a greater number of veterans to receive the pension, broadening eligibility from the current pool (6800 veterans) to a much broader group (25,300 veterans),” said Maori Party Co-Leader Te Ururoa Flavell. "I stood in the House tonight to make clear our decision to vote in support of a far greater number of veterans to have formal recognition that they are war veterans and therefore able to receive a War Veterans’ pension. This has been a point of contention for them to have this recognition.“
"While we originally supported Phil Goff’s amendment to increase the lump sum payment, when it came down to the wire and that the bill would not pass without our support, we could not delay progress for veterans. We argued that the lump sum payment must be revisited in the course of the two years and the Maori Party will hold the next Government to account on this review, be it National or Labour."
"During the negotiations on the bill, we argued for a review of the act and associated levels of support within two years of the new scheme coming into effect. This was the crucial decision-making factor for us."
"The Maori Party operates firmly and squarely from the perspectives of whanau. We owe it to all our veterans and their whanau to honour the sacrifice and the dedication of duty undertaken for all those who call this land home. At the end of the day, we could not hold up the process of entitlements that we believe the veterans are entitled to.”
"As a result of the bill proceeding, the Veterans’ Pension will now be paid at the same rate as superannuation and is increased annually in line with this. Veterans will also automatically get the Community Services Card which is currently income tested. Income testing will no longer apply,” said Mr Flavell.
"We voted in support of the bill and the Government’s amendments, to ensure no further delay and to enable the wellbeing of veterans to be provided for as a matter of urgency. The Law Commission first opened their books to revise the 1954 Act some seven years ago. Every day, is another day of delay for our veterans as they wait for Governments to make decisions on their behalf. We were not prepared to play politics with the lives of veterans and their families.“