18 May 2020

Military veteran support scheme survey gauges public opinion

6:07 pm on 18 May 2020

A survey is asking New Zealanders if military veterans and current service personnel should get better health care and support.

Defence Minister Ron Mark

Minister for Veterans Ron Mark. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

Minister for Veterans Ron Mark said the survey launched today would determine whether there needed to be an agreement between the government, service personnel and all New Zealanders.

The agreement would ensure past and present personnel and their families were supported for health needs and wellbeing, he said.

Mark acknowledged some veterans had fallen through the cracks, such as Vietnam vets, who were famously reluctant to come forward to get help.

"Research indicates that service can have negative impacts on their health and wellbeing, and that some face difficulties in transitioning to civilian life.

"They can spend long periods away from their whānau which can affect whānau wellbeing," he said.

Similar agreements have been introduced overseas, in countries such as Australia and Britain.

The survey would feed into work being done by the Veterans Advisory Board, which was due to give a final report to the minister by August, Mark said.

Last year, the board suggested in a draft report the definition of a veteran was too narrow. Mark previously suggested that anyone who enlisted should come under a veteran definition.

Today's survey is open until 7 June and is available online.

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