Medallic Recognition – You will be aware that the Association has over the past 4 years been corresponding with a number of Ministers of Defence and CDF’s with regard appropriate medallic recognition for South East Asia and ANZUK during the period 1966 – 1975. This recognition is in line with the Australian Defence Forces award. The Association has provided a considerable amount of information to the NZDF and the current CDF agreed to review the period and then analyse the information. The latest response from CDF indicates that the initial review into the period in question has been completed and that they have now moved into the Analysis Phase. CDF has advised that an NZDF response together with the findings will be forwarded to the Minister of Defence by 30 September 2019.
Veterans Advisory Board (VAB) – You will also be aware that the VAB which was set up to determine what is a Veteran and how will NZ acknowledge these veterans has now been completed. VAB passed a report to the Minister of Veterans Affairs by 30 June 2019 after which they have been disbanded. The Association has written to the Minister of Veterans Affairs requesting as to when an announcement may be made advising the outcome of the VAB review. No response has been received as at the posting of this blog.
Footnote: A response has been received from the Minister of VA to say that he intends discussing the findings of the VAB with his Cabinet colleagues but also that the issue is high on his agenda. He has until the 30 September 2019, before we as an Association will take further action.
Veterans Support Act Review – You are aware that a nation-wide review of the Veterans Support Act of 2014 was undertaken by Professor Ron Patterson in 2017. The only correspondence received by the Association with reference to this review is that the Minister of Veterans Affairs had accepted Recommendation 63 which was to determine what is a veteran but no other recommendations had been accepted. Your Association will attempt to determine the status of this review from the Minister at the earliest opportunity. It is incredible that the Opposition Spokesperson for Veterans, Maggie Barry is not asking questions in the house noting that the report of this review was submitted in March 2018. Why do successive Governments undertake these type of reviews at taxpayer expense and then not address the recommendations?
VAB Appointments – It is understood that a new VAB will soon be established but its terms of reference are still unclear. It is hoped that the Minister of Veterans Affairs has taken on board the need to be transparent when appointing members to this Board and that all three services will be represented rather than was the case with the last VAB composition. Watch this space.
Burial Rights for Serviceman – This continues to be a work in progress in that we have been advised by the Minister of Health that the Burial and Cremations Act is up for review. However, in true political fashion, there has been no indication when this is likely to occur. Your Association will again write to the Minister seeking the review dates for this Act and make the appropriate submissions when called for. The outcome of the Veteran Status and what the implications are for ‘Operational Qualifying Service’ or medallic recognition could impact or have flow on ramifications.