New Veterans Advisory Board Members Appointed

Spot the serving or ex naval person on this Advisory Board.

‘Who should be considered a veteran’ will be the main question facing the new appointees to the Veterans’ Advisory Board.

The Board is a statutory body which was established as part of the Veterans’ Support Act 2014. The Board’s function is to provide advice to the Minister for Veterans on a range of issues impacting veterans, including advice on policies and entitlements.

“The recently released report by Professor Ron Paterson analysed the Veterans’ Support Act, and identified 63 recommendations which aim to improve it,” says Minister for Veterans Ron Mark.

“Many of these recommendations are already underway, but several, including looking at how we classify a veteran in New Zealand, need further work.

“I have decided to ask the Veterans’ Advisory Board to focus on this important issue.

“It will be complex – as it will involve not just a consideration of military matters – but also consideration of the broader social sector in New Zealand, including what entities such as the public health services and the ACC have to offer military personnel and former servicepersons.

“The Board members who will be undertaking this piece of work will be bringing to it a wide variety of skills and experience.

“Most, but not all of them, have military backgrounds.

“The Board will be chaired by Leith Comer, who has extensive knowledge of the workings of government and leadership experience in the military, private and community sectors. He served in the New Zealand Army for 21 years, and has held senior positions as a public servant, including being the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Maori Development.

“The Deputy Chair will be the Hon Chester Borrows, who has experience in a non-military service, in particular with the New Zealand Police, as well as a distinguished Parliamentary career.

“The other members are; RSA President BJ Clark, Fiona Cassidy, Baden Ewart, Denise Hutchins, Group Captain Leanne Woon and Warrant Officer of the Defence Force Mark Mortiboy. Michelle White is a deputy member of the Board.

“I have asked the Board to report to me by 30 June 2019,” says Ron Mark

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5 Responses to New Veterans Advisory Board Members Appointed

  1. MOLE says:


  2. Lindsay Roberts says:

    Hi All you sparkers and others reading this broadcast.
    The above subject does not affect me as I am already qualified. However rather than just muttering about it, and Mole is the only one to have done so as yet, I would ask you all, maybe implore is a better word. As I have already done, put pen to paper to the Minister of Veterans Affairs The Head of VANZ, your local MP and perhaps the Chief of Navy, expressing your disgust or that such a board can be set up and yet a whole arm of the Defence Force is excluded from it.
    Of the nine members six have an army background two RNZAF and one an Ex MP from the Police.
    How balanced is that?
    I have had acknowledgement of my correspondence, So that says something,
    For all of you out there ask you “Do Something” , tell these people your’e not happy and this disgrace should be put right.
    If you agree with me, then tell them, if you don’t then tell me.

  3. Red Matthews says:

    Yep Mr Roberts,
    Colin Burgess and myself have had a meeting with our MP Dan Bidios on this very subject. He was very helpful although had very little knowledge of how the MOD/Veterans Affairs worked, we enlightened him in the short time we had, and I urge anyone who has strong feelings about this to do the same after all that’s what we pay them for, I think you will find they will at the very least listen to your concerns and you maybe able to enlighten them also, at the very least write or Email your MP.
    Hopefully if enough people make a complaint something may get done!!!

  4. Geoffrey Kelly (Ned) says:

    Good on ya Lindsay, I also wrote to VANZ asking that my similar comments re the Advisory Group be forwarded to the ‘Head’,and the Minister, received a ‘wishy washy’ civil servant reply. I’ll start again next week, with a ‘stronger ‘line’ of correspondence.With your strong organisation ,you comms folk have the numbers to really make a difference, get all your regional reps to get in their local MPs faces .
    Salvoes and Up spirits.
    WE Greenie.

  5. Tahae Roberts says:

    Firstly, if I remember correctly, the appointed Chairperson to the new Veterans Advisory Board, Mr Leith Comer was primarily employed as CEO of Te Puni Kokiri, I am not aware he was ever a principal of the Ministry of Maori Development. Secondly, the serious and erroneous case of failing to appoint a member of the senior Military Service, you guessed it, the Royal New Zealand Navy speaks again of ‘old school’ ravings and rantings of an elitist club of public servants who have forgotten the passage of rights within the Military What role is there for the Warrant Officer of the Defence Force on the board?, but not even a voice for the Royal New Zealand Navy, who is going to speak for them?, which Parliamentary cretin stuffed this one up? Is this a sign of the times ahead of us? that we cannot even get Military seniority sorted out? what hope is there for a just and honourable conclusion to the saga and drama that permeates ‘What is a Military Veteran?’. It appears that all our doubts will be dispelled by the 30th June 2019, watch this space…..

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