The National Party would have ensured veterans played a part in a recent ceremony marking the return of 27 soldiers from South East Asia, its defence spokesperson says.
Some veterans were unhappy they were kept behind a wire fence some distance from the repatriation event at Auckland International Airport last month.
National's defence spokesperson Mark Mitchell said the Defence Force was rightly focussing on the families of the men whose remains were returned, but said the veterans should have been accorded more respect.
And he said if it was not for veterans pushing for the repatriation over the years it would never have happened.
"The veterans need to be looked after and respected and they need to be acknowledged that they have a genuine role to play."
Defence Minister Ron Mark said he fully understood how veterans felt about being excluded.
But he said New Zealand Defence Force had to make a tough call when organising the repatriation ceremony, which was specifically for the families, and he backed that.
"Under rather difficult circumstances and a rather emotionally charged time, Defence made the right call."