A Response to Vet Affairs Rounds

By Doug Francis,

Just come back from the Veterans Affairs meeting. A lot was discussed (the Army being the most talkative)’ The following points were discussed:

  • Pre 1974 being handled by a caring benevolent organisation , the post 74 section being handled by deny organisation
  • Not enough being done to inform service persons on what they re entitled to both during service and on leaving.
  • The slow process on applications.
  • The possibility of both sections being handled by Defence instead of two separate organisations.
  • The definition of a Veteran. The whole act is based on the Canadian example ,Yet when Canada changed their breakdown of what is a Vet, NZ didn’t. ( Harvey Toots name was mentioned lol. You certainly made a good impression on them Harve (Twice).
  • Problem with Malayan vets. and their issues.
  • The lack of communication to applicants and the delays.

I was given an opportunity to speak and outlined my thoughts.
1.  First on who is and isn’t a Vet (which seemed to have wide support not only in Christchurch but throughout NZ.) You sign on the dotted line and serve you should be a Veteran. There was a suggestion that we have a grading system like the Yanks.
2.  I made sure to have written in the minutes the situation of not all (if many) ships actually carried a Medical Officer i.e. a doctor and the fact that the army whallers on the tribunal were under the false impression that the XO was in fact a doctor when all he was in fact was a Divisional Officer for the Medical Branch on board.  (This was entered into the record for further discussion)
3.  The lack of certified hearing protection issued to naval ratings prior to 1984 And included all engineering ratings as well as gunners, Flight Deck parties and others. The hearing protection issued or worn was never certified as approved.  (will help with all hearing applications in the future I hope)
4.  That all ships on leaving Devonport where considered to be on operational service and could at a moments notice be deployed anywhere without need to be made ready for active service, and in cases have been so.

The outcome after the meeting I was approached the Deputy Head Of Veterans Affairs (VA), a Marti Eller who asked if I would be available to consult on applications if required on the basis of “does this medical situation fit within the Defence Medical parameters and was this condition feasible to have been the outcome of Military service ?”) It seems that no ex Medical Officers can or will serve as consultants. So VA is gathering senior ex medical people to act as a sounding board for these applications if no medical evidence ( due to lost record or poor record keeping) is available.  This will help those poor souls that have no records of their medical condition and gives credence to their claims. I (Like Alby Osborne) have helped some in the past. They want to move away from the tribunal making these decisions by ex officers with no actual medical knowledge. Can only be a good thing moving forward. All in all a very good meeting with a lot of positive things to come out of it.

For further comments by ex Service Personnel click HERE

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2 Responses to A Response to Vet Affairs Rounds

  1. Jim D says:

    Thanks for that DougaL. I attended a VANZ appeal hearing as a witness for a fellow communicator. The panel consisted of the VANZ Head and Deputy, two GPs, a surgeon, RSA Rep and a secretary. The surgeon was a real fly in the ointment – his response to most items was “old age”. Needless to say, the appeal ended in a negative outcome. VANZ now follows the Australian Veterans Statement of Principles http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2014/0056/latest/DLM5537944.html
    Makes interesting reading and the criteria make it virtually impossible for anyone to qualify. So, basically, if your disability isn’t listed in the SOPs then it’s a hard road to hoe.
    There are also inconsistencies throughout NZ and Australia. EG: I applied to have my flat feet recognised as a result of wearing plastic sandals. They said no – Old Age. Yet, when I advised a fellow communicator, currently living in Australia and older than me, he had his granted!

  2. hairy37 says:


    I haven’t contributed before, but have recently been widowed – surviving wife of Donald Reece Norman (Kirk). Died 22 July 2017, New Plymouth

    The paper work involved in claiming my entitlements is horrendous and nothing is volunteered. VANZ seem to work on the principle , if they don’t communicate people won’t bother, as they make it so complicated. This will equate to millions that have never been claimed or paid correctly.

    I would have thought that the provision of a death certificate would be more than sufficient to pay the entitlements. MSD only required the death notice in the paper and all entitlements were actioned promptly by telephone.

    Contribution towards funeral costs – the amount is not anywhere near the costs, need 10 pages filled out, including a medical statement from your GP, when this Veteran had 7 conditions attributed to active service and had been receiving the payments for a number of years. All assessed by specialists of Vanz’s choice and accepted by the Medical Board. The other requirement is an itemised account of the expenses from the funeral director and proof that I paid the account.

    The same for the surviving spouse payments, including a marriage certificate, even though I had been his authorised agent for several months before his death, plus 12 pages of other requirements.

    I am preparing a submission for the Review on the Veteran’s Support Act 2014 and will also send with it all the paperwork as above.

    Regards to all

    Lynn Williams

    Telephone 06 751 4556

    Cellphone 0275 124 448

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