This is a good question and has nothing to do with entitlements.. It is certainly worth thinking about and raising with your member of parliament because if you have served in the New Zealand Defence Force you are not necessarily a VETERAN. In fact you can be in receipt of an Operational Service Medal and still not be a veteran. Confusing to say the least.
It would seem that in Canada, Australia, UK and the USA determining who is a veteran is simple – “You served, You are a veteran”. But not so in Godzone nothing is so simple.
New Zealand – What does it take to become a military veteran in New Zealand? The Veterans Support Act of 2014 declares that a veteran means;
(a) a member of the armed forces who took part in qualifying operational service at the direction of the New Zealand Government; or
(b) a person—
(i) who has been—
(A) appointed as an employee of the Defence Force under section 61A of the Defence Act 1990; or
(B) seconded to the Defence Force with the permission of the Chief of Defence Force; and
(ii) who took part in qualifying operational service at the direction of the New Zealand Government; or
(c) a person who, immediately before the commencement of Part 3 of this Act, is eligible for a pension under the following provisions of the War Pensions Act 1954:
(i) section 19 (but only if the person was a member of the forces):
(ii) section 55 or 56:
(iii) Parts 4 and 5
Let us look now at OPERATIONAL SERVICE as defined on the NZDF Medals website.
Operational service is service which exceeds the normal requirements of peacetime service, and which involves a credible military threat from enemy military forces, insurgents, or other hostile forces. If the service involves no threat, or is determined as having only a very low threat level, a campaign or operational service medal will not be instituted or awarded.
The New Zealand Defence Force defines three categories of operational service: warlike, hazardous, and non-warlike.
Warlike – In a state of declared war, or with conventional combat operations against an armed adversary, or peace enforcement between belligerents who have NOT consented to any intervention. For example, Vietnam and the 1990-1991 Gulf War.
Hazardous – Peace enforcement between belligerents who HAVE consented to intervention or requested assistance, or missions where casualties may be expected.
For example, service in Bougainville since 1997.
Non-warlike – Military activities in which casualties are not expected, including peacekeeping or sanctions-enforcing missions in benign situations, disaster relief in locations where there are belligerents or other hostile groups, observer activities and other hazardous activities. For example, mine clearance operations in Mozambique and Cambodia from 1994.
Accordingly if you served in the New Zealand Defence Force and did not serve in one of the three categories above then you are not a veteran. It appears that successive Governments, NZDF and Veterans Affairs link the identification of a veteran and their entitlement to veteran support to medallic recognition rather than an ex service persons health or personal needs resulting from their service. This glaring anomaly is not within the scope of the current Veterans Act Review.
United Kingdom – Who is a veteran? A veteran is anyone who has served in HM Armed Forces, regular or reserve including National Servicemen. Veterans status also applies to former Polish forces under British command in WWII and Merchant Mariners who have seen duty in military operations. Veterans can be any age from 18 to 100 plus. Veterans need not have served overseas or in conflict. All are entitled to our services.
Canada – Any former member of the Canadian Armed Forces who successfully underwent basic training and is honourably released. When people think of Veterans, many immediately picture someone who served in the First World War, Second World War or the Korean War. While many Canadians recognize these traditional Veterans, the same may not always be true for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Veterans—those who served Canada since the Korean War.
United States of America – You are a veteran if you have engaged in active duty (including basic training) in the U.S. Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard), or are a National Guard or Reserve enlistee who was called to active duty for other than state or training purposes, or were a cadet or midshipman at one of the service academies, and were released under a condition other than dishonorable.
Australia – Who is a Commonwealth veteran? A Commonwealth veteran is a person who has rendered continuous full-time service as a member of:
- the naval, military or air forces;
- the nursing or auxiliary services of the naval, military or air forces; or
- the women’s branch of the naval, military or air forces of a country (other than Australia) that is, or was at the time of service, part of the British Commonwealth.
Who is an allied veteran? An allied veteran is a person:
- who has been appointed or enlisted as a member of the defence force of an allied country; and
- who has rendered continuous full-time service as such a member during a period of hostilities.