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Archive Material

Working Group

The EVSA Communications Sub-Committee was formed in September 2004 in anticipation of the pending Report of the Parliamentary Health Select Committee Inquiry into Agent Orange. During October - December 2004, EVSA established contact with the Government seeking discussions/input regarding the forthcoming Government Response to the HSC Report. In spite of repeated earlier attempts such a meeting was only granted by the then Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr Hawkins) less than 24 hours before he tabled in Parliament his totally inadequate Government Response and half-hearted "apology". At the meeting of EVSA and RNZRSA the previous day the Minister and his officials refused to accept the advice of veterans representatives and filed the Response without amendment. Needless to say the Response was received with outrage by the Viet Nam veteran community.

EVSA established an Agent Orange Project Team and approved a budget to carry the battle to the Government, to manage media communications and to keep veterans informed to the greatest extent possible. Recognizing that this could well be the last opportunity to get things put right, the EVSA Project Team engaged the services of professional advisors and set about developing detailed plans. The RNZRSA agreed to support the EVSA led Project.

Contact with the Prime Minister's Office during December - January succeeded in conveying the message that the HSC Report & Recommendations deserved a much more serious response from the Government. The PM then appointed the Minister of Defence (Mr Burton) to lead discussions with veterans, with Mr Hawkins playing a secondary role. Well-timed pressure from an "Open Letter" from wide range of VN Vets assisted EVSA in persuading the Government to announce in Feburary 2005 the formation of an Agent Orange Joint Working Group (AOJWG) to advise the Government on how best to resolve the outstanding concerns of Viet Nam veterans and their families.

Initially, the AOJWG comprised representatives from EVSA and RNZRSA and advisers from the offices of the Minister of Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs. EVSA proposed an internationally proven process for consulting with veterans and family members as a basis for preparing a report and recommendations to Government on a formal apology for the many years official denial, and an accompanying package of measures to redress the health issues and other concerns of the Viet Nam veteran community. After almost five months of sustained effort by EVSA within and outside the AOJWG, the Government finally agreed to the EVSA proposal with some modifications. This was announced by the Prime Minister at the RNZRSA Annual Conference in July 2005.

The Government then appointed Michael Wintringham as Independent Chair of the AOJWG. At this point the ministerial officials withdrew from the working group process. The Group was subsequently renamed the Joint Working Group On The Concerns of Viet Nam Veterans (JWG) to enable it to consider not only Agent Orange related issues but also the wider concerns of Viet Nam veterans and their families. The JWG's Report was required to be delivered to the Government by 31 March 2006.

The frustrating delays in getting this far were further added to when the announcement of the 2005 General Election caused a three month postponement to commencement of the consultation process.

Once begun, the series of consultation meetings occupied the JWG from November 2005 to Feburary 2006. Meetings were held throughout New Zealand and by video conferences with New Zealand veterans in various parts of Australia. Submissions were also received in writing. EVSA made a separate written submission. In the later stages of the consultation process, a representative from the Department of Social Development joined the JWG to provide expertise on practical implementation aspects of JWG recommendations.

During March and April 2006 the JWG prepared its Report & Recommendations, which were delivered to the Government on Thursday, 27 April 2006.

At time of writing (July 2006) the EVSA Project Team is continuing its dialogue with the Minister of Defence, now Mr Goff (the Minister of Veterans Affairs is now Mr Barker), and with the Office of the Prime Minister so as to ensure appropriate veteran input is maintained while the Government is considering the JWG Report and preparing its response.

EVSA anticipates that its Communications Sub-Committee will continue to play a vital role in the future, monitoring and reporting progress on the implementation of the Government's package of measures to address the concerns of Viet Nam veterans and their families resulting from the JWG process and Report.

NOVEMBER 15 2006 UPDATE

EVSA has received some veteran comment and enquiries following the RNZRSA National Council held in Wellington 6-8 November, regarding why there was no announcement of the Government's Response to the JWG Report & Recommendations. I will attempt to address this matter in the following way:

1. EVSA specifically asked the Government not to release any details of its currently proposed response. This is because negotiations with the Government are still in progress, and any partial announcement would be premature, raising more questions than answers.

2. As part of her address to the RNZRSA 2006 National Council the Prime Minister announced three forthcoming Government actions affecting veterans: (1) A complete review and rewrite of the War Pensions Act to bring it up to date with the realities of modern military operations, risks, and consequences. (2) A review of Veterans Affairs New Zealand (VANZ) to ensure it is resourced and structured to provide appropriate levels of service to veterans and families.
(3) The establishment of a "Golden Years" card for pensioners over 65, and all in receipt of a Veterans Pension (The PM said Mr Peters would be subsequently announcing more details, which he did, but leaving many unanswered questions).

3. These three issues are part of the RNZRSA Ten Point Veterans' Welfare Manifesto 2006, about which the RNZRSA has been lobbying the Government, and is why the PM included them in her address to the National Council. Although the PM did not say as much, these three issues, among others, have been brought into particular focus for the Government by the JWG process, and the current negotiations.(By way of contrast read the PM's address to the 2005 RNZRSA National Council on the Labour Party website).

EVSA believes that simply announcing a "review", "rewrite" etc is insufficient, especially given the lack of action on similar undertakings given to Viet Nam veterans in the past. In particular, EVSA is insisting that the how, what, when, by whom etc of these reviews, and any other aspect of the Government's response, needs to be sufficiently spelled out to give veterans confidence that a satisfactory outcome will eventuate. These details are currently being worked through so that any Government Response to the Concerns of Viet Nam Veterans has substance rather than being merely broad generalities. EVSA is applying this same approach to the Government's proposed responses to each of the JWG recommendations.

All parties to the negotiations are striving to reach a conclusion on the complete package before Parliament rises for the Christmas/New Year break. Nevertheless, EVSA has made it clear that while a speedy resolution has always been important, it is unacceptable that this be achieved at the expense of quality. Any resolution must be (and must be seen to be) fair and sustainable. The RNZRSA supports the EVSA view on this. How soon the negotiations are concluded, and when an announcement can be made, will depend on satisfactory agreements being reached on each of the JWG Recommendations.

The EVSA team appreciates the frustrations of the current rate of progress, and we ask your understanding that we are constantly balancig the need for speed, and the need for a quality outcome.

CHRIS MULLANE

JANUARY 2007 UPDATE

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the Government and EVSA/RNZRSA in December 2006 which is published in full in the Media Releases Section of this website. This is the basis of agreement for actions to be taken to deliver a package of measures to assist Viet Nam Veterans and their families arising from the Recommendations of the Joint Working Group (JWG). A Joint Implementation Group (JIG)is to be formed to oversee the implementation of these measures.

This month a Discussion Forum about the Memorandum of Understanding was conducted by the RNZRSA with participation by EVSA representatives and other veterans who have been actively involved in Viet Nam Veteran issues. A summary of the results of this forum can be found through a hyperlink from the Main Page of the Members' Section of this website.

MARCH 2007 UPDATE

The JIG is a unique body for which there seems to be little or no precedent, ie, the people who who negotiated the MoU with the Govt are directly involved in managing its implementation. The JIG consists of a 'Core" group and a "Full" group. The Core JIG is made up of the RNZRSA (2 members), EVSA (2 members), and the Chairman, Paul Carpinter. The Full JIG is the Core plus whatever Govt Departments need to be involved to discuss the meeting agenda. These Govt departments could include at different times up to 14 agencies, including for example, ACC, Crown Law, Dept of Internal Affairs, Veterans Affairs, NZ Def Force, Ministry of Health, Treasury,etc.

The JIG first met on 8 February 2007, with a second meeting on 8 March. In addition there was a meeting of "core" members on 23 February. The JIG is working on drafting its Terms of Reference (ToR) so that all parties involved a clear on its authoriy and responsibilities. The ToR will be based upon a firm directive issued by the Ministers of Defence and Veterans Affairs setting out their expectations of the JIG and conferring on the Chairman the authority necessary to make progress through what is like a "bureaucratic swamp" of govt servants.Importantly this directive has also been issued to the CEOs of all the Govt Depts likely to be involved in implementing the MoU.

A key early focus of the JIG is to get established a National Register of VN vets and their families, as this will initiate and drive the implementation of many of the MoU entitlements. VANZ have developed some Registration Forms which will be mailed out to known VN vets and RSAs about the end of March. RSAs will help with the disribution of the forms by putting up posters provided by VANZ telling people how & who to get registered. A website will be publicised from which forms can be downloaded., and also an 0800 number to request hard copies to be sent. EVSA & the RSAs will also ask their Welfare and Pension Officers, and Club Secretaries to print off a few copies of each form to give people on request.

A JIG Website is to be set up which will provide regular updates of progress. A JIG Secretariat is also to be established similar to that which existed during the Joint Working Group phase.

Registration

A necessary first step to progress the implementation of the provisions of the MoU is the registration of all VN vets and their families to create a National Register. It is planned to have about 2000 Registration Forms in the mail to the known addresses of vets at about the end of March. If a VN vet, or a surviving family member who considers that they should be registered, has not received a form by mid-April he/she should access forms as follows:
-------a. Download from VANZ Website; or
-------b. Freephone VANZ to request forms to be mailed; or
-------c. Ask for forms from local EVSA Pension Reps or local RSA Secretary/Welfare Officer. VANZ have committed to send forms to all these people for onward distribution on request.

Relevant Documents

Documents relevant to the Joint Working Group, the Memorandum of Understanding, and the Joint Implementation Group can be downloaded from the Latest News section of the EVSA Website. These include the latest news on the implementation of the MoU as at 21 March 2007.

APRIL UPDATE

There has been progress with implementation of several items from the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during recent weeks. As at 30 April:

1. Ex-Gratia Payments The Cabinet has now approved the necessary regulations to ensure that ex-gratia payments provided for in the MoU are exempt from income tax, and also are not assessable when considering other benefits and entitlements. As a result payments will be sent out this week to eligible veterans and family members who have previously been identified. The Government, EVSA and RSA ask that recipients' privacy be respected.

2. EVSA (Neville Wallace Memorial) Children and Grandchildren Trust. Cabinet has approved the funding required for the grant to the Trust provided for in the MoU be made available in the current Budget Year (ie, before the new Budget Year commences on 1 July 2007). The grant of $250,000 has now been paid to the NZ Guardian Trust, fund managers for the EVSA (Neville Wallace Memorial) Children and Grandchildren Trust.

3. Viet Nam Veterans and Families Trust Funding for the $7 million endowment to this trust is now available. The endowment will be paid across to the Trust as soon as the Trust Deed is finalised and the initial Trustees appointed. Meanwhile the endowment fund has been accumulating interest since the MoU was signed on 6 December 2006. Details of the application process are under development.

4. National Register To date there has been a very positive response by Viet Namveterans and their family members to completing and returning Registration Forms. registration is the key first step to accessing provisions of the MoU, and also to helping develop future entitlements. Please continue to encourage and assist other members of the Viet Nam veteran community to become registered. Equally important, please make the point that registration is not limited to the living. Registrations can be made not only on behalf of veterans who have died, but also for deceased spouses or partners, and children.

The Joint Implementation Group (JIG) is continuing with its work overseeing and coordinating implementation of to MoU on behalf of Viet Nam veterans and their families. There is considerable work still to be done, and progress will be reported as it occurs.

MAY UPDATE

Ex-Gratia payments are already being made to vets and family members found eligible after registration. As at 25 May eleven vets and three surviving spouses/partners had been paid. A payment has been made to one child with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

Readers are urged to ensure that their vet friends and family members register promptly if they have not already done so. As at 25 May a total of 2037 registrations had been received by VANZ
---------Veteran registrations: 621
---------Deceased Veterans: 41
---------Spouse registrations: 477
---------Child registrations: 505
---------Grandchild registrations: 393

JUNE UPDATE

As at 29 June there have been 2757 registrations received by VANZ:

Veterans: 794
Deceased Veterans: 53
Spouses: 606
Children: 724
Grandchildren: 580

In total 30 ex-gratia payments have been made.
To 18 veterans:
4 Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
1 Hodgkins Disease
5 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma
3 Soft-tissue Sarcoma
5 Chloracne

To 4 Surviving Spouse/Partners:
2 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma
2 Soft-Tissue Sarcoma

To 8 Children:
2 Acute Myeloid Leukemia
1 Cleft Palate
3 Spina Bifida
2 Cleft Palate/Cleft Lip

Ther have been 83 registrations from veterans living in Australia, one from Malaysia, 3 from the Cook Islands, one from USA, one from Canada, and two from the UK.

Two additional types of Registration Form have been added to specifically cover Deceased Children and Deceased Spouses/Partners. If people have already registered family members in these two categories by adapting one of the other types of Registration Forms, it is NOT necessary to complete one of the new forms. As with all MoU Registration Forms, copies can be obtained by downloading from the VANZ website www.veteransaffairs.mil.nz, or by phoning Freephone 0800 483 8372, and requesting forms be mailed to you.

Oral History Project

As part of the MoU agreement the government is funding an Oral History Project, covering NZ's involvement in the Viet Nam War. The project is being conducted by the Ministry of Culture and Heritage with a budget of $800,000 over four years. The Project Leader is Paul Diamond,Senior Oral Historian, who may be contacted at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

MoU Update

A June update of the MoU Matrix can be accessed via hyperlink from the Latest News Section of the Home Page of this website. Just click on the heading: "MoU Implementation Update as at 29 June 07".

JULY UPDATE

US Institute of Medicine Agent Orange Update

On 27 July the US Institute of Medicine released its latest report in an on-going series of studies into the long term effects of exposure to Agent Orange by troops in VN. The full report can be found at http:/www.iom.edu/CMS/3793/4689/44596.aspx.
The biggest change from previous studies is that they reported: "In two new studies, Vietnam veterans with the highest exposure to herbicides exhibited distinct increases in the prevalence of hypertension; the prevalence of heart disease was also increased".
There were other changes to the IOM's latest update of Veterans and Agent Orange:Health Effects of Herbicides Used in Vietnam which is compiled at the request of the US Dept of Veterans Affairs and issued every two years (this is the 7th report in the series). As new data has emerged a few important cancer types: malignancies of the brain, stomach, colon, rectum and pancreas, were moved from a category labeled "limited or insufficient evidence of no association (with Agent Orange)" to a more neutral category: "inadequate or insufficient evidence to determine association".
In the NZ context VANZ does currently recognise and accept for medical coverage and compensatory payment through the War Disablement Pension (WDP)processes of the War Pensions Act, all conditions on both lists. These changes to the lists should be noted by VANZ and be of benefit to some VN vet WDP applicants.
Certain conditions-sarcomas, non-Hodgkins lymphomas, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and Hodgkins Disease-have been found by the IOM to be clearly associated with Agent Orange exposure. However the status of other conditions remains more ambiguous. That is why EVSA and RNZRSA negotiated for the inclusion of an Expert Panel in the Memorandum of Understanding(MoU). Reviewing the list of prescribed conditions will be a priority for the Expert Panel when it is established later this year.
The Expert Panel will also consider statistical evidence of the prevalence of health conditions amongst VN veterans. It is therefore important for as many veterans and family members as possible to register with VANZ so that health statistics can be gathered and people can get the support they need.

A report on progress towards implementing the MoU as at 27 July is being progressively mailed to all those who have registered.

AUGUST UPDATE
As at 17 August 3807 Registrations had been received:

Veterans: 1029
Deceased Veterans: 79
Spouses/Partners: 808 (including 27 deceased)
Children: 1055 (including 15 deceased)
Grandchildren: 836 (including 6 deceased)

To date 37 ex-gratia payments have been made:

To 19 veterans($40,000 each)for:
---------4 Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL)
---------1 Hodgkins Disease
---------5 Non-Hodgkins Lymphona
---------2 Soft Tissue Sarcoma
---------7 Chloracne

To five Surviving Spouses/Partners ($25,000 each) for:
---------3 Non-Hodgkins Lymphona
---------2 Soft Tissue Sarcoma

To eleven children ($30,000 each):
---------2 Acute Myeloid Leukemia
---------3 Cleft Palate
---------4 Spina Bifida
---------2 Cleft Palate/Cleft Lip
Payments have been made to the families of two deceased children ($30,000 each).

Trends in the Registrations

94% of chlidren are the natural child of a Viet Nam veteran
85% live in NZ
65% are NZ European
33% are NZ Maori
25% suffer from stress, anxiety or depression
13% have eczema or skin problems

Launch of Tribute08

Tribute08, a National Commemoration for Viet Nam Veterans and their families to be held in Wellington over Queen's Birthday Weekend 2008, was launched on 21 August 2007 at Parliament Buildings. More details are available in the Events Section of this website. Tribute08 also has its own website-see the Links Section of this website.

MoU Fact Sheet as at 29 August 2007

1. MoU. The MoU was signed on 6 December 2006 between EVSA and RNZRSA and the Government. The parties acknowledge that the MoU is a significant step forward in addressing the concerns of Viet Nam veterans but is NOT a full and final settlement.
2. Apology. The Crown is to make a formal public apology acknowledging the service to NZ of Viet Nam Veterans, and acknowledging the failure of the Crown to address concerns resulting from Viet Nam service. The Apology is currently being drafted.
3. Commemoration Ceremony. A National Commemoration is to be held for Viet Nam Veterans and families, incorporating elements of Whakanoa, and an acknowledgement by NZDF that veterans were not well treated on return from service in Viet Nam. The Event, named Tribute08-A Vietnam Commemoration, will be held in Wellington on Queens Birthday Weekend 2008. Full details are available in the Events Section of this website and on the Tribute08 website, www.tribute08.com/.
4. Oral History Programme. The Ministry of Culture & Heritage is to record an oral history of the experiences of Viet Nam Veterans and their families. Interviewing has commenced and involvement of a wide cross section of veterans and families is being encouraged.
5. Medallic Recognition. Royal assent is being sought for a distinctly NZ medal to be awarded for Viet Nam service, and for approval for South Vietnamese Gallantry Awards to be worn by recipients. A Battle/Theatre Honours Committee has been convened by NZDF to review the application of criteria for the 1 RNZIR South Viet Nam Theatre Honour to recognise the service of all rifle companies that served in Viet Nam. The Committee commenced its deliberations on 11 June and its work is now well advanced.
6. Ex Gratia Payments. One-off ex gratia payments are approved for Veterans and family members in relation to prescribed health conditions resulting from Viet Nam service:
-----Veterans suffering prescribed conditions ($40,000). To date 19 payments made.
-----Spouse/partner of a Veteran who has died from a prescribed condition ($25,000). To date 5 payments have been made.
-----Children suffering accepted conditions ($30,000). To date 11 payments made.
-----Families of children who have died from accepted conditions ($30,000). To date two payments made.
7. War Pension Act. A substantive review of the War Pensions Act (1954) is to be undertaken so as to provide a legislative environment appropriate for conditions Veterans now face, and to improve service delivery to veterans. Terms of Reference are being drafted.
8. Expert Panel. A panel of independent experts is to be established to consider international scientific research and statistical data on health conditions associated with war service, and to recommend uniform standards and criteria to ensure all veterans with equal degrees of disablement are treated fairly and consistently. Terms of Reference are being drafted.
9.Veterans' Children and Grandchildren. Access to relevant research in intergenerational effects of exposure to a toxic environment is to be improved, and appropriate programmes introduced for children and grandchildren of Viet Nam Veterans. Processes are yet to be developed.
10. Ongoing Research. The Crown will access international research, and sponsor ongoing research into the effects of exposure to dioxins and other hazardous substances, including for children and grandchildren. Processes are yet to be developed.
11. Children's and Grandchildrens' Trust. On 20 June 2007 the Crown has made a one-off grant of $250,000 to the EVSA (Neville Wallace Memorial) Children's and Grandchildren's Trust.
12. Veterans' Card. All Veterans will be eligible for a Veterans' Card designed to facilitate access to medical services, and to ensure appropriate information is available to medical professionals evaluating a veteran's health. Initial issue of the card will be to those aged 65 and over on a Veterans' Pension, in conjunction with the Super Gold Card commencing August 2007. Stage 2 will be veterans under 65 who are receiving a Veterans' Pension. Stage 3 will be all other veterans. The specific entitlements, benefits and facilities of the Veterans' Card are yet to be developed, but will include the medical and health functions described above.
13. Viet Nam Veterans' Children's Card. The purpose of this card is to allow medical professionals to readily identify children of a Viet Nam Veteran, and to take into account health conditions that may have arisen from a parent's Viet Nam service. Yet to be developed.
14. National Register. A National Register is to be established to include all living and deceased Viet Nam Veterans, their spouses/partners, children, and grandchildren. The Register is to be capable of supporting epidemiological research. Registration is an essential initial step for individuals to access entitlements provided for in the MoU. Registrations to date total 3807, including 1029 living veterans, 79 deceased veterans, 808 spouses/partners, 1055 children, and 836 grandchildren. Registrations are on-going.
15. Provision of Information. Veterans Affairs will make available to medical professionals, and to Viet Nam Veterans and their children, relevant medical information (to the extent permitted by law) to assist in monitoring and screening for relevant health conditions. Processes are under development.
16. Veterans' Retirement Homes. The Crown will work with Veterans' Associations and Veterans' Retirement Homes to establish "centres of excellence" for the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions prevalent amongst veterans. International models for health centres of excellence are being researched, from which a NZ model can be developed in collaboration with Veterans' Homes.
17. VANZ Placement & Review. The Crown, in consultation with the Veterans' Associations, will review the mechanisms for delivering services to veterans, including the functions, responsibilities, structure, resources, and placement of Veterans Affairs New Zealand (VANZ). The review will be integrated with the rewriting of the War Pensions Act. A preliminary position paper is under consideration in discussions between NZDF and the Veterans Associations.
18. Medical Assessments. Viet Nam Veterans will be entitled to funding for a one-off comprehensive medical assessment with a view to establishing eligibility for a War Disablement Pension. Processes are under development.
19. Viet Nam Veterans and Their Families Trust. The Crown has provided an endowment of $7 million for a period of 30 years towards establishing a Trust Fund to provide support to Viet Nam Veterans and their families in relation to concerns and circumstances not addressed elsewhere in the MoU, or through other government agencies. The Trust was settled on 16 August 2007, and is expected to commence operating in the final months of 2007. Applications will be called for once the Trust has established its processes and procedures. The $7 million endowment sum has been accruing interest since the MoU was signed on 6 December 2006. This will provide an initial fund for distribution of over $300,000.
20. Joint Implementation Group. A JIG comprising representatives of the Crown and the Veterans' Associations was established on February 2007 to oversee the successful implementation of the MoU package. The work of the JIG is continuing with monthly meetings, and other working sessions between meetings. The JIG reports on progress to the Viet Nam Veteran Community through the Veterans' Associations, and to the Government through the Ministers of Defence and of Veterans Affairs.

OCTOBER UPDATE
As at 10 October 4246 registrations had been received:
----Veteran Registrations 1140
----Deceased Veterans 92
----Spouse/Partner Registrations 893 (including 32 deceased spouses/partners)
----Child Registrations 1180 (including 21 deceased children)
----Grandchild Registrations 941 (including 6 deceased grandchildren)

To date 46 Ex-Gratia payments have been made:
To 24 veterans:
----6 Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
----1 Hodgkins Disease
----6 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma
----2 Soft-Tissue Sarcoma
----9 Chloracne

To 6 Surviving Spouses/Partners
----3 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma
----2 Soft-Tissue Sarcoma
----1 Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)

To 12 Children
----2 Acute Myeloid Leukemia
----3 Cleft Palate
----4 Spina Bifida
----3 Cleft Palate/Cleft Lip

Payments have been made to the families of four deceased children.

Trends in the Registrations. The following information is self-reported:
Veterans
77% are NZ European
19% are Maori
88% of the registrations served in the Army
47% took part in other deployments either before or after Viet Nam
76% are in receipt of a War Disablement Pension
10% suffer from Prostate Cancer
20% suffer from Type 2 Diabetes
48% suffer from PTSD
15% have or have had alcohol related problems
15% have or have had relationship problems
17% have or have had issues with anti-social behaviour
11% have or have had anger management problems
9% have or have had issues with unemployment
15% suffer from sleep disorders
Deceased Veterans
This data comes from information provided by family members who registered a deceased veteran.
60% were NZ European
29% were NZ Maori
52% died from some form of cancer
21% died of a heart attack
10% died of a respiratory condition
21% suffered from PTSD
14% had alcohol related problems
3% had relationship problems
11% had issues with anti-social behaviour
11% had anger management problems
Spouse/Partner
80% are the current spouse/partner of a VN veteran
69% are NZ European
15% are NZ Maori
7% have or have had relationship problems
23% suffer from stress
15% suffer from anxiety/depression
8% report abuse
5% have had miscarriages
2% decided not to have children due to uncertainty of impact of dioxins
1% have or have had cervical cancer
Children
89% are the natural child of a VN veteran
80% live in NZ
62% are NZ European
31% are NZ Maori
18% suffer from stress, anxiety or depression
13% have excema or skin problems
Grandchildren
92% live in NZ
59% are NZ European
36% are NZ Maori
3% suffer from stress, anxiety or depression
8% have excema or skin problems

APRIL 2008 UPDATE

To date there have been 4918 registrations received.

-----Veterans ----------------------------1285
-----Deceased Veterans-------------------121
-----Spouse/Partners---------------------1019 (including 42 deceased spouses/partners)
-----Children-----------------------------1379 (including 42 deceased)
-----Grandchildren------------------------1114 (including 8 deceased)

To date 65 Ex-Gratia payments have been made:

Payments have been made to 36 veterans:
-----9 Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
-----1 Hodgkins Disease
-----6 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma
-----4 Soft-Tissue Sarcoma
-----16 Chloracne

Payments have been made to seven Surviving Spouse/Partners:
-----3 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma
-----2 Soft-Tissue Sarcoma
-----1 Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
-----1 Hodgkins Disease

Payments have been made to 18 children:
-----2 Acute Myeloid Leukemia
-----7 Cleft Palate
-----6 Spina Bifida
-----3 Cleft Palate/Cleft Lip

Payments have been made to the families of four deceased children.

SEPTEMBER 2008 UPDATE


As at 26 September there have been 5413 registrations received.
----Veteran registrations --1386
----Deceased veterans-----132
----Spouse/partners--------1070 (incl 46 deceased)
----Children----------------1437 (incl 34 deceased)
----Grandchildren-----------1388 (incl 8 deceased)

To date 72 ex-gratia payments totalling $2,545,000 have been made.
Payments made to 42 veterans:
----10 Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
----1 Hodgkins Disease
----8 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma
----4 Soft-tissue Sarcoma
----19 Chloracne

Payments have been made to seven Surviving Spouse/Partners:
----3 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma
----2 Soft-tissue Sarcoma
----1 chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
----1 Hodgkins Disease

Payments have been made to 19 children:
----2 Acute Myeloid Leukemia
----8 Cleft Palate
----6 Spina Bifida
----3 Cleft Palate/Cleft Lip

Payments have been made to the families of four deceased children.

MARCH 2009 UPDATE


An update on progress towards implementing the MoU can be found by downloading from the Homepage "Documents of Interest" Section a letter from the VANZ General Manager.

EXPERT PANEL


The MoU requires the establishment of an Expert Panel of medical & other experts to consider relevant medical research, and to make recommendations to the Secretary for War Pensions on the appropriate rate of War Disablement Pension payments, and any consequential entitlements to Veterans for disabilities not included in the 9th Schedule to the War Pensions Act.
On 8th April 2009 the Minister of Veterans' Affairs announced the following appointments to the panel:
Professor John Campbell (Chairperson)
-Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Otago
-Consultant Physician & Physician in Geriatric Medicine in Dunedin
-Fields of Expertise are Falls Prevention in the Essslderly, and Osteoarthritis
-Chairperson of the NZ Medical Council since 2003.
Dr Marie Bismark
-Senior Associate at Buddle Findlay
-Qualified Medical Practitioner
-Fields of Expertise are Health Law, Patients' Rights, No Fault Compensation, and Healthcare Complaints Resolution
-Director of the ACC since 2007.
John Campbell ONZM
-National President RNZRSA 2004-2007
-Over 30 years experience in the Regular, Territorial and Honorary Forces of the NZ Army, with service in VN
Associate Professor Brian Cox
-Director of the Hugh Adam Cancer Epidemiology Unit at the University of Otago
-Associate Professor of Preventative & Social Medicine at the University of Otago
-Fields of Expertise are Epidemiology, Screening for Cancer, & Public Health
-Chairperson of the NZ Cancer Control Trust
Professor Des Gorman
-Head of the School of Medicine at the University of Auckland
-Fields of Expertise are Brain Injury, Toxicology, Decompression Illnesses, and Occupational Medicine
-Served for 12 years in the Royal Australian & NZ Navies, and trained as a submariner & diver
-Director of Medical Services for the RNZN 1989-1995
Professor Timothy Maling
-Consulting Physician in Internal Medicine & Clinical Pharmacology at the Capital Coast and Coast District Health Board
-Clinical Associate Professor (Clinical Pharmacology & Internal Medicine) at the Wellington School of Medicine and Health Services
-Fields of Expertise are Hypertension and Drug Reaction
Dr Alister (Sandy) Macleod
-Medical Director of the Brain Rehabilitation Service at Burwood Hospital
-Consultant Psychiatrist for the Canterbury District Health Board
-Medical Director of Nurse Maude Hospice
-Fields of Expertise are Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Palliative Medicine, and Neuropsychiatry
Surgeon Captain Alison Drewry
-Director Defence Health Services
-Fellow of the Royal Australasian Faculty of Occupational Medicine
-Past Medical Convenor for Civil Aviation in NZ

THE LAW COMMISSION AND THE REVIEW OF THE WAR PENSIONS ACT


As most members would know by now the Law Commission has been tasked by the Government to review the War Pensions Act 1954. This task assignment was made in September 2007, and is one of the requirements of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in December 2006 between the Crown and EVSA/RNZRSA representing NZ veterans.
So what is the Law Commission and how is it going about its task?
The Law Commission is an independent, publicly funded, central advisory body established by statute to undertake reviews, reforms and the development of New Zealand legislation.
The Law Commissioners are:
-The Right Honourable Sir Geoffrey Palmer, a distinguished Law Professor, and former Prime Minister (Chairman)
-Dr Warren Young, Criminologist and former Professor of Law at Victoria University (Deputy President)
-Emeritus Professor John Burrows, QC
-George Tanner, QC, a former Parliamentary Counsel
-Val Sim, former Ministry of Justice Chief Legal Counsel
The first step in the Review Process was the publication by the Law Commission of an Issues Paper in July 2008. Written submissions on the paper were then received by the Commission, with EVSA and RNZRSA being amongst the 121 groups and individuals who made submissions.
In October/November 2008 a series of consultation meetings was then held at RSAs throughout the country.
The Commission is now working on a Final Report to Government which should be submitted during 2009.
Once the Report is submitted it will be tabled in the House of Representatives. The Government must then decide what to do with the Report.
To introduce a new Act a Bill will be prepared, given a First Reading in the House of Representatives, and then sent to a Select Committee consisting of MPs from various parties. At this stage the public will have another opportunity to make submissions.
The Select Committee then considers the submissions, makes any amendments to the Bill it thinks appropriate, and tables the amended Bill in the House of Representatives for further debate during a Second Reading. There is then a Third Reading, and the final Bill goes to the GovernorGeneral for the "Royal Assent" before becoming law.
Enactment of any replacement for the current War Pensions Act is a lengthy process which is unlikely to be completed until well into 2010 or possibly 2011, depending on Government priorities in the House of Representatives.

JULY 2009 UPDATE


On 30 July the first Joint Implementation Group meeting since early 2008 was held to review progress in the implementation of the MoU. It was chaired by the Minister of Veterans' Affairs, with the GM of VANZ, the President of RNZRSA, and EVSA representatives present. Another meeting to review progress is planned for later this year or early 2010. Some feedback from the meeting:
-Ex-Gratia Payments have been made to 50 Viet Nam Vets:
-----11 Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL)
-----1 Hodgkins Disease
-----10 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma
------4 Soft Tissue Lymphoma
------24 Chloracne

The Expert Panel will have its second meeting during August. One of its first tasks is to provide advice to the Minister on adding Prostate and Respiratory Cancers to the list of Prescribed Conditions outlined in the MoU.

Ex-Gratia Payments have been made to 19 children of VN vets:
-----2 Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
-----8 Cleft Palate
-----6 Spina Bifida
-----3 Cleft Palate/Cleft Lip

Five lump sum payments have been made to the families of deceased natural children who had one or more of the five Accepted Conditions of the MoU.

So far 1561 VN veterans have registered with VANZ for the National Register set up by the MoU. There have also been:
------1206 Spouse/Partner registrations
------1626 Child registrations
------1591 Grandchild registrations

So far only 757 veterans have undertaken their free medical and returned it to VANZ. Where the medicals have identified service related, or potentially service related conditions, a War Disablement Pension claim for the condition has been facilitated.

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