Release: Working together on consistent support for veterans this Anzac Day

Our two-tiered system for veterans’ support is out of step with our closest partners, and all parties in Parliament should work together to fix it, Labour veterans’ affairs spokesperson Greg O’Connor said.

The law says those who served after 1974 aren’t entitled to the same support as those who served before that date. It’s been reported recently that Australia has a much more consistent veterans’ support system.

“At a time when New Zealand is looking towards greater cooperation with our traditional military allies, let us align the entitlements of those who have been, and will in future be serving alongside those from other nations’ armed forces,” Greg O’Connor said.

“In the spirit of Anzac Day, let’s honour those who served together and commemorate their efforts on the battlefield, in service here and abroad.

“It is reassuring to see the Veterans’ Affairs Minister Chris Penk acknowledging the current system needs fixing and I hope he can work with his Government colleagues to invest in a group of people to whom this country owes not only gratitude, but also material assistance.

“Let’s band together to fix the system over the longer term, regardless of political stripe. We should do better by our veterans.

“In the short term, the Veteran’s Independence Programme needs continued funding. It supports those who have served to remain independent in their own homes which is better for their wellbeing and keeps pressure off other parts of the health system and aged care.

“We can’t let cost pressures cripple the agency that supports people who gave so much for their country.

“I have offered my support to the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs so we can better support veterans into the future,” Greg O’Connor said.

This Anzac Day veterans’ affairs spokesperson Greg O’Connor will attend the Dawn Service at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, before heading to the Tawa RSA Service to lay a wreath. He will join veterans and supporters for a post-service get together at the Tawa RSA.

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