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.