15 October, 2012
$60 Million in new funding for veterans
A new $60 million package will improve the support and recognition given to veterans who have served New Zealand, says Veterans’ Affairs Minister Nathan Guy.
Prime Minister John Key announced the new package at the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association’s National Council in Wellington tonight.
“This package adopts in full, or in part, 132 of the 170 Law Commission’s recommendations from its review of the War Pensions Act 1954. It provides new funding of $60 million over the next five years to implement these changes,” says Mr Guy.
The main changes include:
- New and updated legislation replacing the War Pensions Act 1954.
- The introduction of two coverage schemes, with the creation of ACC on 1 April 1974 being the point of division between the two schemes.
- Increasing the War Disablement Pension and Surviving Spouse Pension rates by 5 per cent, beginning on 1 April 2013 (on top of the forecast CPI increase of 1.8 per cent).
- Increasing eligibility for support services such as home help and lawn mowing will benefit an estimated 3,000 additional veterans and 1,100 surviving spouses or partners
- A new ‘Veterans’ Weekly Income Compensation’ for veterans under the age of retirement and unable to work, which will be paid at 80 per cent of the average wage (significantly higher than the currently available Veteran’s Pension rate).
- A veterans advisory board and specialist medical advisory board will be established to provide the Minister with independent advice.
“I’m proud of this comprehensive package. It honours the sacrifice and commitment of those who have served our country.
“The Bill is currently being drafted and is expected to be introduced to Parliament early year. We will listen carefully to veterans and other members of the public through the select committee process, and our aim is for most of the changes to begin from 1 July 2014,” says Mr Guy.
More information on the changes can be found on the Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand website at www.veteransaffairs.mil.nz.