A Trip to Wellington

Laurie and I took our two grandchildren to Wellington for an experience.  Called into the Backbenchers for lunch and saw a few well known politicians hanging about.

Also saw an interesting way of displaying the NZ Flag on the Corner of Stout Street and Lambton Quay.

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Gold card for Australian doctors and nurses of the Vietnam War

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester announced that members of the Australian civilian surgical and medical teams that provided medical aid, training and treatment to local Vietnamese people during the Vietnam War will be eligible for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Gold Card.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Minister Chester commended this group of men and women who will be eligible for the DVA Gold Card from 1 July 2020. This will provide them with access to medical treatment for all conditions.

Minister Chester said that while these medical teams were not a part of the Australian Defence Force at the time, the government has listened to their concerns relating to their time in Vietnam.

“We have determined that it is appropriate to provide them with the DVA Gold Card, which will ensure they receive the support they need,” Mr Chester said.

During the Vietnam War, about 240 doctors and 210 nurses worked in Vietnam under contract with the Department of External Affairs as part of Australia’s contribution to a SEATO aid program in South Vietnam between 1964 and 1972.

The program aimed to provide medical aid in Vietnamese civilian hospitals and training to local medical staff.

“It may have taken nearly 50 years, but today justice is being done as a group of brave Australian doctors and nurses are duly recognised for their selfless contribution as members of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) surgical civilian medial teams that served in Vietnam,” the Treasurer said.

The measure coming into effect is dependent on the introduction and passing of legislation. DVA is aware there are about 200 surgical and medical team members that will benefit from this measure.

“They volunteered, in the great Australian tradition, putting their lives and careers on hold to administer aid to civilians during a conflict in which more than 500 Australians lost their lives in combat,” Minister Chester said.

By Stephen Kuper of Defence Connect

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Wondering what has happened to the Patterson Report

The Professor Ron Patterson report which provided 64 recommendations in a review of the Veterans Support Act was tabled in Parliament in May 2018.

Here is a record from the Hansard of the Oral Questions in Parliament which you may recall.  Cick HERE

The Hansard identifies a number of areas which your Association will be following up in 2019.   Recent correspondence indicates that the Minister of Veterans Affairs has only accepted one recommendation to which he has set up the Veterans Advisory Board to look at.  This Board (which has no Naval Representation) has until 31 March 2019 to respond and we look forward to the outcome of their deliberations.


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New Zealand General Service Medal (Afghanistan: Primary Operational Area) Regulations 2018

New Zealand General Service Medal (Afghanistan: Secondary Operational Area) Regulations 2018

This note is not part of the regulations, but is intended to indicate their general effect.

These regulations, which come into force on the 28th day after the date of their notification in the Gazette, provide for the award of the New Zealand General Service Medal (Afghanistan: Secondary Operational Area) for service, rendered on or after 18 December 2001, on land, at sea, or in the air in various locations in the Middle East excluding Afghanistan.

These regulations, together with the New Zealand General Service Medal (Afghanistan: Primary Operational Area) Regulations 2018, replace the New Zealand General Service Medal (Afghanistan) Regulations 2002. The substantive change effected by the replacement regulations is that it will be possible for an eligible person to qualify for, and wear, both the New Zealand General Service Medal (Afghanistan: Primary Operational Area) and the New Zealand General Service Medal (Afghanistan: Secondary Operational Area).

The regulations are made under a Royal Warrant, The New Zealand General Service Medal (SR 2002/226), which instituted the New Zealand General Service Medal to be awarded to members of the New Zealand Defence Force and certain civilians for “services rendered during war, and both warlike and non-warlike (including peacekeeping) operations commenced since 1 January 2000”.

This has always been a bone of contention for Navy in that if you were in receipt of the Afghanistan Secondary Operational Area medal and then qualified for the Afghanistan Primary Operational Area medal,  the Secondary medal had to be returned to receive the Primary.  These regulations fix this anomaly.  If you were effected by this anomaly watch this space as you should be able to reapply for the Afghanistan Secondary if it was handed back.

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The question has arisen as to who was the Leading Tel on watch in the Port W/T Office located in PHILOMEL on Christmas Eve 1953 when the Tangiwai Disaster occurred just north of Waiouru.

One of the ratings on watch was ‘Charlie’ Webby but cannot remember who was the leading hand of the watch.

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Survivors of the Rock – Anecdote # 2

Want to know more of what happened on Motuihi Island.  Click HERE

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Vetarans Affairs Deployment Review

Veterans Affairs are currently working through the process to review over 100 deployments, and will be looking at these in six tranches:  This review does not cover any deployments prior to 1974.  Please be aware the RNZN Communicators Assn has raised a paper to the Minister and NZDF re the period prior to 1974 and we await a response from both parties.  We will hopefully advise members of the outcome early in 2019.

Tranche 1: Significant deployments without appropriate coverage
Examples would include operations with no close off date (something required under the Act), or where geographical areas not clearly defined.

This group includes all the operations in:
the Former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
the Solomon Islands.

Tranche 2: Deployments without coverage that may meet the required risk thresholds
This could include deployments that currently have no cover.

Examples of areas under consideration are:
Several deployments in the Gulf Region

Tranche 3: Deployments declined coverage before 2009 that warrant reconsideration
This will include operations declined coverage before 2009 under the old legislation, which may meet the new risk criteria in the 2014 legislation.

Examples of areas under consideration are:

Tranche 4: Deployments with coverage where there needs to be a review of the specified period or a reconsideration of risk
Examples of areas under consideration are:
Sierra Leone.

Tranche 5: Deployments declined coverage since 2009 that warrant reconsideration
This will include operations declined coverage since 2009 under the old legislation which may now meet the new risk criteria in the 2014 legislation.

Examples of areas under consideration include:
Indian Ocean.

Tranche 6: Those deployments considered and declined since the 2014 Act that may meet the eligibility criteria
These deployments may have a single factor which indicates personnel may be at risk from a threat (either environmental or operational). For example a Centre for Disease Control health warning might be in place.

It is unlikely the overall threat assessment will meet the required threshold, but we are carrying out due diligence and reviewing these deployments.

Deployments we’re not reviewing
We’re not reviewing: operations before 1 April 1974, as everyone who served in NZ’s Armed Forces before this date has Qualifying Routine Service and thus eligibility for support and services from Veterans’ Affairs
operations not conducted as part of NZDF Output 5.1 (Military Operations in Support of Rules-Based International Order). The way that Qualifying Operational Service is defined in the legislation does not cover business as usual

How we’ll review deployments
We’ll look at each deployment and consider whether it meets a threat threshold. To do this, we’ll work with our colleagues in:

GEOINT New Zealand
Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand
Strategic Commitments and Engagement Branch NZDF
NZDF Health
NZDF Personnel Archives and Medals.
Once all the deployments in a tranche have been considered, the Head of Veterans’ Affairs will advise the Chief of Defence Force of the outcome.

The Chief of Defence Force will then recommend to the Minister for Veterans if any declarations should be made or changed.

The Minister for Veterans will decide whether to declare deployments as Qualifying Operational Service.

Have your say
If you feel there is a deployment that should be considered against the criteria for Qualifying Operational Service, and you don’t see it listed above, please contact us to suggest deployments that we should consider as part of the review.  Click HERE to sign up and receive updates

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