23 Apr 2014

Labour vows veteran pension change

7:41 pm on 23 April 2014

Labour says it will extend the veteran's pension to all war veterans, scrapping the disability requirement, if elected to Government.

At present, war veterans are eligible for a veteran's pension only if they are considered to be significantly disabled.

David Cunliffe.

David Cunliffe. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The Law Commission has recommended scrapping that requirement, but it has not been included in the Veterans Support Bill before Parliament.

Labour leader David Cunliffe said the party had already proposed an amendment to the bill, but if that does not pass, it will remove the disability requirement anyway if elected to Government.

He told an audience at an RSA hall in Avondale that would be a practical way of honouring the service of veterans.

"We want to honour their sacrifice by making it easier for veterans who've served their country overseas by ensuring that they are well treated, can retire in dignity and in comfort."

Mr Cunliffe said the policy would cost $11 million this year, dropping to $8 million a year as the ranks of veterans thin.

World War II returned serviceman Douglas Reid said on Wednesday such a law change should have been brought in a long time ago.

"There's a lot of men that went through, as luck would have it, didn't get a mark on them or anything. But they've got nothing out of the war. They say good guys, fought hard - but you get nothing."

Mr Reid said just because a veteran escaped injury, it doesn't lessen their contribution.