This is quite confusing for some so here is a clear definition as to how NZDF and VANZ refer to Operational Service

Definition of Operational Service

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.

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.

These definitions are quite clear and concise.  However when put up against the Veterans Support 2014 Act you will find terms such as Operational Service, Qualifying Operational Service and Routine Operational Service

How Qualifying Operational Service is determined

  1. After the decision to deploy has been made the Chief of Defence Force must give a report to the Minister for Veterans as soon as possible. This report assesses the operational and environmental threats to deployed personnel.
  2. The Minister for Veterans decides if there is a significant risk to deployed personnel.
  3. The Minister for Veterans declares the operation as Qualifying Operational Service if it meets the threat threshold. This declaration is published in the New Zealand Gazette.

Qualifying Routine Service

You will have Qualifying Routine Service if you served in the NZ Armed Forces before 1 April 1974.

Qualifying Routine Service recognises that before 1 April 1974 service members were not covered for work-related injuries or illnesses. Because of this, Veterans Affairs will  provide support to all those that served in the NZ Armed Forces during this time.

Qualifying Routine Service stopped on 1 April 1974 with the introduction of ACC. Since that date, ACC provides support for all New Zealanders who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. This coverage extends to members of the NZ Defence Force or NZ Armed Forces.

Confusing and it would help if all organisations use the same terminology.  Just a reminder you may be in receipt of the Operational Service Medal but please please do not for one moment think that entitles you to anything.  Please read the fine print.

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  1. Des Otto says:

    Those military service people who served on the Far East Station as a part of the SEATO agreement and were therefore entitled to a “Rehabilitation” loan should be considered as having been in a “Warlike” environment, in my opinion. There were a number of instances where our ship’s posted armed jetty sentries in places like Indonesia (Surabaya), Phillipines (Manila), to name two specific ports, though there were many more, to protect military assets and personnel (ships in the case of RNZN) from clearly identified potential threats.

  2. Alan Peck says:

    I think the system is a bit suspect. I am a veteran. I have my card to prove it. My qualifying service was that I was serving in an RAN ship which escorted the troopship HMAS SYDNEY to Vietnam in 1968. I was an RNZN officer cadet at the time undergoing my final sea training before graduating from the Naval College as a Midshipman. Yes, we were in a war zone, but my daily life changed very little (scrubbing, polishing, chipping and painting) and I don’t recall feeling threatened. I applied for my Vietnam medal simply so that I could wear the Operational Service Medal. I feel that my 40 years service, much spent at sea during the Cold War, was entitled to some recognition. I fully appreciate that there will be many ex-navalmen and women out there who do not qualify but who have a far better case than I do. I think there is scope for a rule change and I am happy to support a case for such change.

    As an aside, I have just returned from a holiday in Australia where I enjoyed a reunion with some of my old Aussie classmates. We talked about the benefits of being a veteran. Their benefits, especially in health care, make our system look mean and the benefits look paltry.

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