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‘Who should be considered a veteran’ will be the main question facing the new appointees to the Veterans’ Advisory Board.

The Board is a statutory body which was established as part of the Veterans’ Support Act 2014. The Board’s function is to provide advice to the Minister for Veterans on a range of issues impacting veterans, including advice on policies and entitlements.

“The recently released report by Professor Ron Paterson analysed the Veterans’ Support Act, and identified 63 recommendations which aim to improve it,” says Minister for Veterans Ron Mark.

“Many of these recommendations are already underway, but several, including looking at how we classify a veteran in New Zealand, need further work.

“I have decided to ask the Veterans’ Advisory Board to focus on this important issue.

“It will be complex – as it will involve not just a consideration of military matters – but also consideration of the broader social sector in New Zealand, including what entities such as the public health services and the ACC have to offer military personnel and former servicepersons.

“The Board members who will be undertaking this piece of work will be bringing to it a wide variety of skills and experience.

“Most, but not all of them, have military backgrounds.

“The Board will be chaired by Leith Comer, who has extensive knowledge of the workings of government and leadership experience in the military, private and community sectors. He served in the New Zealand Army for 21 years, and has held senior positions as a public servant, including being the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Maori Development.

“The Deputy Chair will be the Hon Chester Borrows, who has experience in a non-military service, in particular with the New Zealand Police, as well as a distinguished Parliamentary career.

“The other members are; RSA President BJ Clark, Fiona Cassidy, Baden Ewart, Denise Hutchins, Group Captain Leanne Woon and Warrant Officer of the Defence Force Mark Mortiboy. Michelle White is a deputy member of the Board.

“I have asked the Board to report to me by 30 June 2019,” says Ron Mark

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