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Labour will step up for veterans again

Rick Barker
Veteran Affairs Spokesperson

11 November 2011

Labour will step up for veterans again

Labour took action to resolve a number of outstanding issues concerning veterans, but National has sat idle, unwilling to address the issues that remain, says Labour’s Veteran Affairs spokesperson Rick Barker.

“Labour has a proud history of support for the veteran community. Our time in government was categorised by initiatives such as the Memorandum of Understanding with Vietnam veterans, the review of the War Pensions Act 1954 and the declaration of 2006 as the Year of the Veteran.

“Despite National receiving the recommendations of the War Pensions Act 1954 review back in June 2010, they have failed to act – a lamentable state of affairs for veterans.

“The Law Commission report identifies a number of deficiencies with our current War Pensions Act, including the fact that in some circumstances the support for veterans is less than that provided for other citizens,” Rick Barker said.

“The Law Commission says that Veterans who have suffered as a result of their service deserve to be recompensed over and above the entitlements of ordinary citizens who are not veterans.

“Labour will issue a timely response to the Law Commission report and implement that response by legislating,” Rick Barker said.

“Labour will also create an expert panel to report to the Government on health issues of concern within the veteran community, and work with both Rannerdale and Monticello Rest Homes to ensure that funding structures are sustainable and allow for the best possible level of veteran well-being.

“These servicemen and women cannot be forgotten; Labour will meet their needs and address the on-going inadequacies in the system,” Rick Barker said.

“The veteran’s pension has been a vexed issue, left by National in the ‘too-hard basket’. Labour will untie the linkage between the Veterans Pension and National Superannuation. We will ensure the Veterans Pension stands on its own and is portable.

“Veterans hold a special place in New Zealand society. These servicemen and women have worked to protect and defend our country, help us meet our international obligations, and deserve both our respect and our gratitude.

“Labour will continue to honour our veteran community by ensuring that we provide them with the standard of care and level of respect they deserve,” Rick Barker said.

ENDS

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