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Malaya Service To Qualify For War Pensions

MEDIA RELEASE
Monday 14 June 1999

MALAYA SERVICE TO QUALIFY FOR WAR PENSIONS

A long-standing concern to service-people has been resolved with the decision to make service in Malaya eligible for war pensions, Prime Minister Jenny Shipley announced today.

Cabinet had removed the anomaly under which about 5000 New Zealanders' service in Malaya from 1948 to 1966 had not been recognised for war pensions, Mrs Shipley told the Returned Services' Association conference in Wellington.

"These military personnel faced real danger and war-like conditions. They deserve to receive the entitlements of veterans of other wars," she said.

The change will apply to three conflicts:

Service in the Malayan Emergency between 1948 and 1960 when New Zealanders were involved with operations attempting to eliminate the communist threat from Malaya. Service along the Thailand/Malay border between 1960 and 1964 when 1 New Zealand Regiment served alongside other Commonwealth forces fighting residual communist forces. Service from 1962 to 1966 when Indonesia mounted its "Confrontation" of the new Federation of Singapore and Malaysia. New Zealand forces were assigned to Malaya, Brunei and Borneo.

Mrs Shipley said veterans of wars or emergencies including Korea, Vietnam, the Balkans and, for a limited time, service with the United Nations in Angola had been declared eligible for pensions.

"As the list grows, so it has been argued it was increasingly anomalous that the Malay operations were not included.

"This decision puts that right. It is another instance of how strongly New Zealand values its war veterans," Mrs Shipley said.

ENDS

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