You will be aware that 60 plus written question was asked in our parliament of Ron Mark, Minister for Veterans by Dan Bidois, MP for Northcote. The questions were around the 60+ recommendations made by Professor Ron Patterson on completion of his nationwide review of the Veterans Support Act. Ron Mark did not respond to each of the questions posed but provided a blanket response to cover the questions. Here is his response.
Hon Ron Mark (Veterans (Minister – Ron Mark)) replied: The recommendations of the Paterson Report do not provide neat prescriptions for changes to legislation, policies or practice. They range from public policy matters to legislative reform and from process to operational matters.
Some may be actioned by officials through process or operational changes and do not require Government action. Others would require detailed policy consideration which could lead to, or require, legislative change.
All of the recommendations are kept under regular review and proposals to address them are in various stages of development. I will be making further statements on the progress of this work in due course.
I will leave it up to you to decide which recommendations have been accepted, which recommendations have been actioned, which ones have been included in current processes, which ones have been included in policy, which ones do not require Government action, which ones have been referred on to other organisations, which ones require legislative change and what does ‘in due course’ mean.
There were also 3 questions asked of Ron Mark about the recommendations of the Veterans Advisory Board which completed their deliberations about ‘What is a Veteran and How is New Zealand going to recognise these veterans’. Their review was completed on 30 June 2019. His response to all 3 questions is as follows:
Hon Ron Mark (Veterans (Minister – Ron Mark)) replied: I received an interim report from the Veterans’ Advisory Board at the end of June. I am considering it, and plan to discuss the report and its recommendations with my Cabinet colleagues in the coming weeks.
I will be making further statements on the progress of this work in due course.
A large number of Servicemen and women have been waiting years for the answer to this question and again I will leave it up to you to determine what does ‘in due course’ mean.
One Member of Parliament is not sitting on his hands and is asking pertinent questions of the Minister for Veterans Affairs with regard to the Veterans Advisory Board and the Ron Patterson Review of the Veterans Support Act. At last, we have an MP who is taking up the issues which are dear to all ex-servicemen and women. Bravo Zulu Dan Bidois MP for Northcote.
Ministers have six working days to provide a written answer to each question. Each answer is first sent to the MP who asked the question. Three days later, the answers are published on Parliament’s website.
So come on all you servicemen and women instead of leaving it up to a few to ask questions, seek out your local MP and request that he/she ask the questions which you are too afraid to ask. Sadly, it is a trait of many servicemen and women to be lazy in this regard and leave it up to the few who are willing to take up the mantle. If your service in support of your Country means something to you then get off your backside and do something.
There were also 3 questions asked about the recommendations of the Veterans Advisory Board which completed their deliberations about ‘What is a Veteran and How is New Zealand going to recognise these veterans’ . His response is