Government extends support for veterans

Minister for Veterans Ron Mark, has today announced that all veterans who served in the Former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Timor-Leste and the Solomon Islands are now eligible for support and services from Veterans’ Affairs.

“Veterans’ Affairs has been reviewing deployments after 1974 to check whether they should qualify as operational service under the Veterans’ Support Act 2014,” says Ron Mark.

“So far 38 deployments have been reviewed, with over 70 more reviews to go. Today’s announcement will affect around 1600 people. While some of these people will already qualify for veterans’ support from other deployments, for some this will be the first time they are able to receive support from Veterans’ Affairs.

“Previously, only a limited number of specific operations in these locations were covered under the Act. From now on, the entire geographical area where operations occurred will be covered.

“For example, previous declarations relating to Timor-Leste have covered only land-based operations. This declaration means that Naval personnel who served in the waters off Timor-Leste are now eligible for cover under the Act.

“This is helping to level the playing field for many New Zealand veterans.

“Since the legislation change in 2014, many new factors are now considered when assessing if someone has been at significant risk of harm on a deployment. The review is running the ruler over post-1974 deployments to see if any that haven’t previously made the cut would now qualify.

“These declarations were made possible by the recent passing of the Veterans’ Support Amendment Act, which corrected a drafting error in the original 2014 legislation

“The recent amendment had unanimous support in Parliament, and I thank all members of the House for the expedited process that took place. That demonstrated how revered our veterans are by New Zealanders, and how united Parliament is in ensuring there is adequate support for them when they return home,” Ron Mark said.

WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO REVIEW PRE 1974 DEPLOYMENTS?  These deployments were also mentioned in parliament during the second reading of the Amendment Bill to the Veterans Support Act and to date we have received no notification/acknowledgement that Veterans Affairs are going to review pre-1974 deployments.  We will then see how revered our Veterans really are.  Come on Veteran Affairs.

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New Deployments Acknowledged – Veterans Affairs

The following is advice from Veteran Affairs

As you know some legislation needed to be passed earlier this year to clear the way for the Minister for Veterans to retrospectively declare as qualifying operational service those deployments which had started or concluded before the Veterans’ Support Act came into effect in late 2014.

The necessary legislation––the Veterans’ Support Amendment Act 2019––was passed in June. Once this had happened, Veterans’ Affairs was able to immediately resume its review of deployments post-1974 which are not at present considered to be qualifying operational service.

I am pleased to let you know that the first retrospective declarations of qualifying operational service since the new Act passed have now been made by the Minister, and they were gazetted yesterday.

All NZDF personnel who served in deployments to the Former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1 January 1992 – 31 July 2019), Timor-Leste (1 August 1999 – 31 July 2019), and the Solomon Islands (1 April 2000 – 31 July 2019) will now be eligible for support and services from Veterans’ Affairs. Previously only a limited number of operations in these places were covered.

These declarations and others which are made in the future will specify geographical areas where service has taken place, rather than naming specific operations, and this will make it clear exactly who is being recognised in the declarations.

As an example, previous declarations relating to Timor-Leste have covered only land-based operations. This week’s declaration means that naval personnel who served in the waters off Timor-Leste are also now eligible for cover under the Veterans’ Support Act.

There are still a number of other deployments not at present covered by the Act which we are reviewing, so further declarations are likely.

 

 

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Upside down flag rookie mistake: navy

How many times in your naval career have you seen this happen?

A picture of a Royal Canadian Navy ship flying upside down flag raised some eyebrows over the weekend, but officials say it was an accident.

A keen-eyed social media user snapped a picture of HMCS Fredericton and HMCS Charlottetown docked in Halifax, only Charlottetown’s Canadian flag was flipped.

Flying a flag upside down can be an act of desecration or a sign of distress, but in this case, the navy says it’s neither.

Capt. Mark Greatti, who speaks for Maritime Forces Atlantic, said the vessel recently had a new duty crew come on board, and a novice seaman on ceremonial duty simply made an error.

Greatti said the error was corrected as soon as it was noticed and the sailor responsible was made aware and received extra training.

Greatti said the way the flags are folded can sometimes make it hard for a new member to notice what direction it’s facing before it’s too late — that’s why they practice.

“A new person can easily make that mistake,” he said.

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Written Questions – Veterans Update

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.

Click on this link to view the questions

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

 

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Jack Passings – July 2019

The following Sailors ‘Crossed the Bar’ during the month of July 2019. Details of funerals etc can be found by clicking HERE.

MOSSMAN, Henry Wilmot (Harry)
SUTCLIFFE Richard John (Dick) Able Seaman
EALES, Geoffrey Manville (Geoff) Marine Engineer
AHLFELD, Walter Frederick Stoker
ANDREWS, Alfred Allan (Allan)
BERRY Anton Guiani (Tony). Tel.
ROSEWARNE, James (Jim): Able Seaman
GRAF, Vicki
SOLOMON, John Te Tarehu
ROBB, Allan
HOWDEN, Robert Gordon AB
ROWARTH, Barbara (nee Macky). WRNZNS 4TH OFFICER

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Medallic Recognition/VAB Update

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.

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Ngapona Newsletter

LONGCAST

3 August 19 – Ngapona Assn Mid Year Function at the Bays Club
11 August 19 – William Sanders VC Church service
17 August 19 – Navy Club AGM, Remuera Club at 1100
16 August 19 – Ngapona Assn Lunch & EGM at Birkenhead RSA
13 September 19 – Navy Club, Remuera Club at 1200
20 September 19 – Ngapona Assn Lunch at Tauranga RSA

ASSN LUNCH LAST FRIDAY
In spite of the inclement weather, we had a reasonable muster for our lunch at New Lynn RSA last week.

NORTHERN LUNCH LAST SATURDAY
What a great job Margaret and Jill did in organising and preparing the lunch at the Bay of Islands Yacht Club last Saturday. With over 60 in attendance, it was no small undertaking, and they have been doing it for the last eight years. The meal was tremendous, better than any RSA, all drinks were only $5 and they had ‘up spirits’ (pity I had to drive back to Auckland. There were many raffle prizes and it was noted that Neil Lineham was the recipient of a large parcel. I was great to see so many who had travelled up from Auckland.

NGAPONA ASSN – MID YEAR FUNCTION
Our Mid Year Function will be held at the Bays Club, Anzac Road, Browns Bay on Saturday, the 3rd of August. Pre-dinner drinks at 1830. This is a great venue and a special menu has been prepared for us.
An indication of numbers is required for catering purposes by 26 July 2019. Please reply to editor@ngapona.org.nz. Do it NOW so you don’t miss out!! We have organised a special ‘door prize’ valued at $80.00. This will be given to one lucky guest!!

AUGUST LUNCH AND EGM
Our next lunch will be held on Friday 16 August at the Birkenhead RSA followed by a short Extra-ordinary General Meeting to make a change to the constitution. This will remove the restriction that currently limits the number of Associate Members to 25% of the number of Full Members. This will allow all those who have supported the Assn to join as Associate Members, regardless of whether they have had naval service or not.
I look forward to welcoming some new members. There is a once-only joining fee of $40.00 and no annual subscription.

NGAPONA ASSN SEPTEMBER LUNCH – TAURANGA RSA
We have decided to hold our September Lunch at the Tauranga RSA. We intend to arrange transport so will need an indication of numbers so we can advise costs. Please reply to this email so we can get the transport sorted.

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