Members of the Veterans’ Advisory Board are appointed by the Minister for Veterans.
Leith Comer, Chair – Served in the New Zealand Army for 21 years, including as a senior officer. Has extensive knowledge of the workings of government, as well as leadership experience in the military, private and community sectors Has held senior positions as a public servant, including as the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Maori Development from 2001-2011, and the Deputy Secretary of Economic Development from 1997-2001. Recently awarded the QSO.
Chester Borrows – Member of Parliament between 2005 and 2017. Held wide-ranging appointments during his time in Parliament. As Minister, his portfolios included Courts, Associate Justice, and Associate Social Development. He was Deputy Speaker of the House, a member of a number of select committees, and Chairperson of the Justice and Electoral Committee. Worked with the New Zealand Police as a sworn officer, including periods spent in rural policing roles and with the Criminal Investigation Branch. Worked as a lawyer in Taranaki.
Fiona Cassidy – Previous military service in the Army. Held the role of Director, Defence Communications Group. Over 20 years of experience managing communications at a strategic level. Extensive experience in working with Māori, Pacific, and hard-to-reach communities. Has held a number of Director and board appointments on business, government, and not-for-profit organisations.
BJ (Barry) Clark – National President of the RSA. RSA member since 1973, including service on executive at local, district and national level. 21 years in the Royal New Zealand Engineers, including service in Singapore, Moscow, Fiji, Antarctica and Sinai.
Baden Ewart – 28 years of service in the New Zealand Army. Has worked in both primary and secondary health care. Has been the General Manager Operations for the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority and is currently the Canterbury Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group Recovery Manager. Experienced with central and local government engagement, including with the Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Social Development.
Denise Hutchins – Career in the health sector spanned 44 years, commencing in the clinical area as a nurse in both hospital and community settings, progressing to a Chief Nursing Officer position. Moved into health management, working in organisational development with responsibilities for human resources, health, safety and wellbeing, learning and development and strategic quality improvement. Served as a Territorial in the New Zealand Army as a member of the Royal New Zealand Nursing Corps (Territorial) from 1979-1994, retiring as Lieutenant Colonel and Principal Nursing Officer 2 (GH) Field Hospital. Justice of the Peace since 2002 and is currently the Immediate Past President of the Royal Federation of New Zealand Justices’ Associations.
Warrant Officer Class One Mark Mortiboy, Chief of Defence Force nominee. Warrant Officer of the Defence Force, a principal advisor to CDF, and a member of the NZDF Senior Leadership Team. Serving veteran with overseas postings and deployments to Singapore, the Sinai, East Timor and Antarctica. Sergeant-Major of the Army from 2014-2017.
Group Captain Leanne Woon – Senior serving RNZAF officer, currently Director Programme Delivery – Capability Branch Operational deployments to Afghanistan, Bosnia and East Timor. Awarded the Defence Meritorious Service Medal in 2014 in recognition of her significant contribution to the development of women in the New Zealand Defence Force.
Deputy members – When a member is absent a member’s deputy may attend a meeting in their place.
Wing Commander Michelle White, deputy member for Mark Mortiboy – senior serving RNZAF officer, whose currently Staff Officer Strategy Execution, Defence Logistics Command, HQ NZDF. experience includes a broad range of RNZAF and NZDF logistics and leadership roles, including Officer Commanding of Logistics Squadron in RNZAF Base Woodbourne and Logistics Support Squadron in RNZAF Base Ohakea. Also Staff Officer of Logistics Planning for Operations at HQ Joint Forces New Zealand, and Acting Chief of Staff at HQ Defence Logistics Command postings to the Support Unit (South East Asia) in Singapore as Staff Officer Supply, and to the Support Unit (Middle East) in United Arab Emirates as the Senior National Officer deployments to Timor Leste, Solomon Islands, Antarctica, the Middle East, and Afghanistan.