RSA calls for an extra day to recognise all war veterans

10:15 am on 18 April 2023
Sir Wayne Shelford poses for a portrait after being reconised for his services to rugby and the community with a knighthood. Auckland Investitures at Government House, Auckland, New Zealand. Saturday 28 May 2022. Photo : Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz

Sir Wayne Shelford says some who have served in recent years do not believe the country values their contribution. Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz

One week out from Anzac Day, the Returned and Services' Association (RSA) is pushing for a second national day to honour the country's war veterans.

RSA national president Sir Wayne Shelford says the thousands who have returned from military deployment in the last 35 years do not believe their service is valued.

About 60,000 people have served since 1990, Shelford said.

Some of those who have served have been killed, others have come back maimed or with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD, he told Morning Report.

"Anzac [Day] is about Anzac, we're never going to forget it because it was a big war...but we want to have a day just to salute the veterans who have actually done military service over the last 50 odd years," he said.

All of the smaller wars have not been recognised in the way World War I and World War II have been, he said.

The proposed day of recognition would cover everything from the Māori Wars to the Gulf War - everyone who has ever served.

The RSA wants the veterans to be able to march in centres around New Zealand.

A public holiday was not wanted and would be in line with other days for recognised causes like Daffodil Day, Shelford said.

"We've spoken to the minister of defence and he says I don't see why not."

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