You will all be aware that the Minister for Vetrans Affairs, The Hon Ron Mark established a Veterans Advisory Board (VAB) last year. Below is a copy of the Terms of Reference for the Board which makes interesting reading. The Board is only looking at Professor Ron Patterson’s recommendation No 63 which is What is a Veteran and how is New Zealand going to recognise that Veteran.
VETERANS ADVISORY BOARD
CONSIDERATION OF RECOMMENDATION 63 OF THE PATERSON REPORT:
TERMS OF REFERENCE
Purpose of this work
1. The purpose of this work is to provide the Minister for Veterans with advice on who should be considered a veteran and how their service in the armed forces should be recognised by New Zealand.
2. The Veterans’ Support Act 2014 contains a provision requiring that its operation be reviewed after it had been in operation for two years. That review, conducted by Professor Ron Paterson, has now been completed and his report has been presented . One of the recommendations arising from it (recommendation 63) was that:
The Government undertakes further work on who is a veteran and how New Zealand wants to recognise their service.
3. The Minister for Veterans has accepted this recommendation and tasked the Veterans’ Advisory Board with providing advice to him on the matter.
4. The Board is expected to develop and recommend a definition of veteran to the Minister, and also to provide advice on how those who are considered to be veterans should be recognised.
5. In developing this advice, the Board should consider the options canvassed by Professor Paterson in the chapter in his review report entitled Rethinking eligibility; but, in developing a solution to recommend to the Government, they should not be limited by those options.
6. They should consider:
a. whether there should be only one definition of veteran;
b. whether all those who meet the recommended definition of veteran should be recognised in the same way; and
c. whether all those defined as veterans should be covered by the Veterans’ Support Act 2014; or whether there may be other ways that their status should be recognised and their needs could be met.
7. As part of its deliberations, the Board should also consider:
a. the intent of the current Act to modernise support to veterans who have been injured or become ill and to focus on supporting veterans to lead full lives;
b. the systems of health, compensation and income support available to all New Zealanders, and how veterans’ needs are addressed in those systems;
c. the resourcing implications of any changes to current arrangements for recognising those considered to be veterans for the purpose of legislation;
d. non-legislative ways in which veterans are, or may be, recognised; and
e. any other matters that the Board believes are important.
8. The Board should provide recommendations to the Minister regarding:
a. who should be considered a veteran of the New Zealand armed forces;
b. whether the legal definition of veteran, for the purpose of entitlements under the Veterans’ Support Act 2014, should be amended;
c. whether any additional legislative change is required to enable additional recognition of service; and
d. whether additional non-legislative initiatives are required to recognise service.
9. The following matters are out of scope:
a. matters which are being addressed elsewhere in response to the Paterson review;
b. matters which will be addressed through the current reviews of New Zealand Superannuation or the public health system or through other Government review or working parties in operation during the period of this piece of work; and
c. the medallic recognition process within the New Zealand Defence Force.
10. It is expected that the Board will consult with:
a. the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association and the No Duff Charitable Trust;
b. senior officials who comprise a Senior Officials Group established for this purpose including representatives of the Ministries of Heath, Social Development, and Business, Innovation and Employment, the ACC, and Veterans’ Affairs; and
c. other individuals or groups where this is deemed necessary.
Timing and Deliverable
11. The first meeting of the Board to consider this issue must be held by Friday 31 August 2018.
12. The Veterans’ Advisory Board will deliver its final advice to the Minister, in the form of a written report, by 30 June 2019.
Support for the Board
13. The Board will be advised for the duration of this work by a group of senior officials representing the Ministries of Health, and Social Development, the ACC, Veterans’ Affairs and the Ministry of Defence.
14. Veterans’ Affairs will provide secretariat support for the Board.
15. Remuneration of Board members will be set by the Minister in accordance with the Cabinet Fees Framework. New Zealand Defence Force members are remunerated by the New Zealand Defence Force and will not receive daily fees.
16. Each member of the Board is entitled, in accordance with the Fees Framework, to be reimbursed for actual and reasonable travelling and other expenses incurred in carrying out his or her office as a member.