Up-date: War Pensions Act re-write

The President of the RNZRSA, Don McIvor, met with the Minister of Veterans' Affairs, Hon Michael Woodhouse, on 22 May to discuss progress on the rewrite of the War Pensions Act. The Minister made these points:

  • There is a heavy parliamentary programme of legislation in the next 12 months and this will be a large and complicated Bill.
  • Nevertheless he continues to apply pressure on officials to progress the new legislation as his number one priority. The necessary Cabinet papers have been approved and drafting instructions have been issued by Defence. The Parliament Law Drafting Office now has the project in its hands.
  • Details of the recommendations announced by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Veterans’ Affairs at National Council 2012 were published at the time. The Minister does not foresee any significant change to those, depending on the outcome of Select Committee deliberations.
  • He has taken action to have the Bill passed to the Social Services Select Committee (which the RSA would strongly support). He expects the Bill to reach Select Committee stages later this year.
  • Funding has already been set in place for the implementation of the provisions of the new Act immediately it is passed into Law. There will be no other delays arising from further budgetary requirements.
  • The Prime Minister is committed to getting the legislation passed.

The legislation was discussed at the last meeting of the RSA Support Services Committee and a Select Committee submission will be developed in detail by a small sub-Committee comprising: National President, Don McIvor; Past President, Robin Klitscher; and National Support Manager, Margaret Snow. RNZRSA continues to press for the earliest possible release of the proposed Bill or parts of it but there are legal limitations on premature release of that information.

Until details of the draft Bill are released, RNZRSA is limited in the preparation that can be done for the Select Committee, beyond reviewing the recommendations.

We will ensure all members are kept informed.