19 Dec 2014

All should be entitled to compo: RSA

6:45 am on 19 December 2014

The Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association is backing a move by Māori military veterans seeking compensation, but says everyone who served should be entitled.

RSA president BJ Clark

RSA president BJ Clark Photo: SUPPLIED

Lawyers representing Māori military veterans laid out their claims before the Waitangi Tribunal on Wednesday.

Many of the grievances stem from treatment experienced during World War II and the Vietnam War.

RSA national president BJ Clark says when it comes to the Vietnam War, people who served in the New Zealand forces were treated equally and should receive equal compensation.

"If there is a precedent set, if there is a finding that veterans have not received all the support they should from the country, then we would welcome that.

"We'd welcome that right across the board, but I'd be reluctant to separate [the issues] because to me, if you served in the New Zealand forces, you served alongside each other and I think if one is entitled to something then all is entitled to the same consideration.

"My personal opinion is that all veterans should receive the same compensation. If they need medical support, their whānau need medical support - be they Pākehā or Māori, I think that they are certainly entitled to that and should be given it.

"My difficulty is ... is that I haven't seen that there is a different effect on the Māori or Pākehā."