Friday, November 18, 2011


TV has just returned from a week down country doing 'Gods Work'. Last Monday through Wednesday I was in Wellington attending the RSA National Council Meeting. Council was opened by the GG with the PM in attendance. Later on we were addressed by Ministers Mapp (Defence), Collins (Veterans' Affairs) along with the Leader of the Opposition.

It is no great secret that many veterans are frustrated by the time taken by Government to bring forward new legislation to give effect to the recommendations of the Law Commission Report into the War Pensions Act. The Act is now 57 years old and seriously out of date. The result is that injured service personnel are considerably disadvantaged compared with what is available under ACC to the rest of the population. This needs to be put right and put right soon.

Veterans are aware this is a major exercise involving eleven separate government departments while the replacement Act will require three other major Acts to be substantially amended. But time is not on the side of many of our older veterans.

Phil Goff had an heaven sent opportunity to press the buttons of the 400 delegates present with an 'up front' commitment to the speedy resolution of the matter. Instead he delivered a rambling speech which dealt, in part, on his military links. It was pretty much devoid of policy detail and his throw away remark that "Labour will legislate to give effect to the Law Commission's recommendations" mirrored the position of Government. It went down like the proverbial.

In contrast John Key and Judith Collins had delegates eating out of their hands. Especially welcomed was the advice that any WW2 veteran wishing to attend the 70th Anniversary Commemoration events being planned over the next few years in Africa (Alamein), Italy (Cassino), the Pacific and the D-Day landings would have their expenses including business class travel, meals and accommodation paid for subject only to them having a medical clearance to travel. There will be no ballot. If they want to go and can go then they will go.

And it does take a certain courage to admit past mistakes. There was justifiable criticism that the party of WW2 Crete veterans who went on a private pilgrimage to Crete earlier this year could have been treated better. The Government acknowledged this. That party is having all its expenses refunded in line with the new policy just announced.

Another initiative announced by Minister Collins was that the long proposed 'Peace Park' across the road from the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Wellington will be completed in time for the commemorations marking the start of WW1.

It requires more than words to acknowledge the debt of gratitude owed our veterans and action speaks louder than words. But even some words from Phil Goff over and above platitudes would have been welcomed.


Anonymous said...

Debt of gratitude? Really? The WW1 guys are long dead, as are most of the WW2 ones. All we are left with are the defenders of American imperialism in Vietnam. A bunch of losers who justifiably lost to a bunch of rice paddy commandoes defending their homeland.

Grant said...

Thanks for theose wonderfully brave words Anonymous 11.57.
Typically, I note you arent brave enough to put your own name underneath them.
Dead or not, victorious or not, the people you mock from behind the safety of your keyboard are worthy of far greater respect and remembrance than you will ever be.

Johnboy said...

What a shame brave men died to help ensure pieces of shit like Anon 11:57
could thrive.

The Veteran said...

Anon 11.57 ... I have no wish to debate with a piece of shit like you but on behalf of the thousands of Kiwi veterans who have put their lives on line post Vietnam serving in:

The Sinai
Solomon Islands
The Gulf

thank you very much for your 'kind' words denigrating their service.

Keep on voting Labour. They need you

Anonymous said...

I have a grandfather I never met and my dad never knew buried in Germany and a dad who served overseas in WW2 buried here. By the time I could afford to take Dad back to revisit the places that meant so much he was too old to go. I'm proud of them, their medals hang on my wall and their military records make intersting reading. It is clear they were reliable, concientous and could be depended upon.

I think you got offered a bauble. I'm grateful to those with courage enough to defend a principle, misguided or not, and don't object to the offer. Goff couldn't offer the bribe (he's in opposition and it would have looked particularly tacky to do so given he's a peacenick) but Key did. Some bribes are less immoral than others but I think a bribe it remains. Both govts have sat on their hands about the bigger issues like atomic testing and Agent Orange waiting for men to die off and reduce costs. Don't sell youself for a trip in a jet and don't defend politicians who promise stuff every three years when there's a narrowing gap in the polls. My dad and grandad are worth more than that.

Goff was at least honest in his as per normal uselessness.

The Veteran said...

So Anon ... I guess you wanted the Govt to do nothing with a raft of 70th Anniversary Commemorations coming up over the next few years and with the British,and Australian Governments already announcing similar initiatives.

For Petes sake give credit where credit is due.

Goff could have said anything. This is a election campaign. He promises GST off Fresh Fruit and Vegs, no tax on the first $5k of income yet, to your mind, it would be 'tacky' of him to offer anything to the veteran community.

Hmmmmm, your logic quite escapes me.