Over 4,600 Viet Nam Vets and their families registeredVeterans' Affairs
Veterans' Affairs Minister Rick Barker has today welcomed the progress being made to register Viet Nam Veterans and their families under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), reached last year between the Government, the Ex-Vietnam Services Association and the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association.
"Latest figures show that 4,664 Veterans and family members have now registered with Veterans' Affairs. This is great news given that the register is a critical part of the implementation of the MoU," Mr Barker said.
"A free medical check is available under the MoU, and once registered, Viet Nam veterans will be contacted with information about how to access this. Not only will the free medical check help identify the effect of service on individual veterans, but it will help provide a fuller picture of the overall health and wellbeing of Viet Nam veterans as a group. I would like to encourage all Viet Nam Veterans and their family members to register with Veterans' Affairs New Zealand to ensure they are receiving any support they may be entitled to.
"In addition to the good progress being made in registering Veterans and their families, there have also been 52 ex gratia payments made to date under the MoU.
"Ex gratia payments under the MoU include payments of $40,000 to Veterans suffering a prescribed condition and payments of $25,000 can also be made to the spouse or partner of Veterans who have died as a result of a prescribed condition.
"Veteran's children with prescribed conditions can also be eligible for ex gratia payments. The Viet Nam Veterans and Their Families Trust is also now accepting applications and providing assistance.
"The purpose of the Trust is to provide support to Viet Nam Veterans and their families in relation to concerns and circumstances not addressed elsewhere in the MOU package. Over 1,400 Viet Nam Veterans also receive a War Disablement Pension, which is available to cover any condition which may be attributable to, or aggravated by, their service.
"I am very proud of the steps taken by this government to address the grievances of a number of our Viet Nam Veterans. The MOU acknowledges in concrete terms that service personnel in Viet Nam were exposed to and continue to be affected by a toxic environment. We can now look forward to the Tribute 08 Event which will take place in Wellington on Queen's Birthday weekend," Mr Barker said.
For more information on registering with Veterans' Affairs New Zealand please visit www.veteransaffairs.mil.nz or call 0800 483 8372 (0800 4 VETERAN)