Greetings from the desk of the Affiliates Representative on the President’s Forum which was attended by Dennis Mardle – Affiliate Representative to the Presidents Forum

Last week was a two-day meeting of the Forum and there were quite a few interesting issues and discussions.

The meeting started with an address and Q+A session with WODF Mark (Titch) Mortiboy who updated us on his role and direction of NZDF. Quite an insight into the goings on of our former employer.

There was also an address by Bernadine McKenzie which was fairly wide-ranging and covered a number of topics. Of interest was the proposed date, sometime in May, for a Health Expo, similar to the one recently run by VANZ in Christchurch, to be run in Auckland. I can only say, having been on the ground at the Christchurch Expo, if you get the opportunity get along and take advantage of the one on one with case managers and involve yourself with the multitude of suppliers and help available. Well worth the effort.

Bernadine also covered topics to do with the addition of Paul Nealis as an assist in reviewing some of the processes. I understand Paul used to be the NZDF Chief Health Officer. His aim is to streamline the service delivery and includes working with the PHOs and DHBs.

Transparency was an issue that was covered in a review and Bernadine is working to make the internal workings of VANZ more transparent. I would expect to see more of this on their website in the future.

Bernadine also covered the Paterson report and the fact that VANZ is working through the recommendations made in that report. Some of the work had to do with simplifying letters to Veterans, making the Website more accessible. Currently, there are 3,600 active Veterans receiving assistance from VANZ, this is an increase of some 300 in recent times. The numbers of people gaining benefit from the V.I.P programme has also increased. If you or any of your association members need assistance around the home, from washing windows, mowing lawns etc, get them in touch with VANZ.

There was a couple of significant briefs by the Support Services group at RNZRSA. They are working through the process of recommending significant changes that more or less formalise what has been happening on an ad-hoc basis. There will be more to follow on this as things unfold.

Generally, there was a good discussion on a number of issues and as part of the formal meeting we welcomed two new affiliates, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen’s Association of New Zealand, look them up on their website, SSAANZ, Also welcomed into the affiliates was the RNZN Communicators Association. A big welcome to you both and if there is any way we can assist you in meeting your aims please let me know.

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