Labour promises pensions for all vets

17:00, Apr 23 2014

Labour has pledged to adopt a Law Commission recommendation to make all war veterans eligible for a veteran's pension.

Leader David Cunliffe made the announcement yesterday at the Avondale Returned and Services Association in Auckland.

Veterans who have served in a war or emergency are entitled to a pension if they are over 65 and have a "a qualifying rate of disablement", the Work and Income website says.

Those under 65 who had been injured or disabled while in service and could no longer work could also be considered.

Cunliffe said Labour would drop the requirement to be significantly disabled and open up the pension to all returning service personnel.

A 2012 Law Commission report on the War Pensions Act made 170 recommendations, including a call to open up the veteran's pension to all returning military men and women.

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While that recommendation was not adopted by the Government, then-veterans' affairs minister Nathan Guy announced a $60 million package for veterans across five years that accepted 132 of the commission's recommendations.

Cunliffe called the Government's move not to accept that recommendation "cynical".

"Now is the time. Time is something the veterans of World War II, as well as the Korean, Malayan and Vietnam wars, don't have on their side," he said.

Labour costed the policy at $11m this year, dropping to $8m in three years as ranks thinned.

Prime Minister John Key said the Government had struck the right chord with its veterans' policy.

Fairfax Media