There is extra financial support for some veterans and their families coming into effect today, says Minister for Veterans’ Affairs David Bennett.
Veterans receiving lump-sum payments for suffering a service-related permanent impairment and families receiving child care payments for children of a deceased veteran whose death was service-related, under Scheme Two of the Veterans’ Support Act 2014 are amongst those seeing an increase on July 1.
“The increase ensures the veteran, or family, is not disadvantaged as living costs increase,” Mr Bennett says.
It applies to all people receiving Scheme Two entitlements under the Veterans Support Act 2014.
Scheme Two provides entitlements for veterans with qualifying operational service performed on or after 1 April 1974, and their partners, children and dependents. It provides entitlements based on those provided by ACC, and Veterans’ Affairs pays a top-up where they are also eligible for ACC cover.
“This increase is about doing what’s right for those who have served New Zealand,” says Mr Bennett.
The following entitlements rise by 2.17 percent in line with the increase in the CPI.Lump sum payment for a veteran with a service-related permanent impairment. The Survivors Grant for a deceased veteran’s spouse/partner, children and dependants, where death was service-related. Child Care payments for children of a deceased veteran where death was service-related.
For those veterans receiving the minimum weekly compensation because they are unable to return to work due to a service-related injury or illness, increase by 1.6 percent in line with the Labour Cost Index.
“Veterans receiving minimum weekly entitlements under scheme two of the Veterans’ Support Act 2014 will get around an extra $18 in their pockets a week,” Mr Bennett says.
Note to editors
The rate of Weekly Compensation is based on the veteran’s pre-injury earnings. The minimum rate of Weekly Compensation will increase on 1 July to keep in line with 80% of the average wage.
Minister for Racing David Bennett has appointed Bill Birnie to the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB).
“It’s a pleasure to welcome Bill Birnie to the NZRB. Mr Birnie brings a lot of corporate governance experience and will add value to the NZRB,” Mr Bennett says.
The purpose of the NZRB is to oversee the racing industry and the TAB, which has a $2.7 billion turnover a year, and returns over $150 million to New Zealand racing and sports each year. The seven-member board is made up of four independent members, including the Chair, who are appointed by the Government, and three code representatives nominated by the Thoroughbred, Harness and Greyhound racing codes.
Mr Birnie, an investment banker by trade and former solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand, has also held positions on several boards, including NZ Screen Commission, the Hilary Commission, High Performance Sport NZ, Sport New Zealand, NZ Film Commission, NZ Warriors Ltd and Play It Strange, amongst many others.
Mr Birnie’s three year tenure begins on 23 June 2017.
“I would like to thank outgoing board member Barry Brown for his contributions to the NZRB and industry over the past three years. Mr Brown is passionate about the industry and we thank him for his commitment to racing,” Mr Bennett says.
Two students have tied for first place in the Passchendaele multi-media competition, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs David Bennett announced.
Wellington’s Neakiry Kivi and Tauranga’s Amanda Yang were the two year 13 students to jointly take out this year’s Battle of Passchendaele Multi-media Competition.
Neakiry, from Samuel Marsden Collegiate School, submitted an original piano composition entitled “Scenes from Passchendaele”. Amanda from Tauranga Girls’ College, submitted a poem entitled “Passchendaele 12 October 1917”.
“Both entries encapsulate ‘then and now’ – a battlefield from 1917 becomes a place of remembrance for all New Zealanders, who will commemorate the losses as part of the centenary commemorations in October,” Mr Bennett says.
“The entries, whilst different, succinctly capture the personal way in which New Zealanders remember the horrors of 1917, ensuring that we will never forget the sacrifices made on one of our darkest days in New Zealand’s history.”
Both winners will receive a $2,000 contribution towards their ongoing education and a place as a New Zealand Youth Ambassador at the Battle of Passchendaele centenary commemorations in Belgium in October.
The Battle of Passchendaele multi-media competition, facilitated by Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand, was launched in 2011 as a way of ensuring that New Zealand’s sacrifice on the Western Front was not forgotten, and that New Zealand’s young people continue to be aware of the heroism that took place in the fields of Belgium.
Minister of Food Safety David Bennett has appointed Teresa Ciprian to the Food Safety Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) board.
“I am pleased someone of Ms Ciprian’s calibre is representing New Zealand on the board. Ms Ciprian has a broad background which includes food safety, food regulation and international trade and a technical background in food science,” Mr Bennett says.
From 1998 to 2010 Ms Ciprian held several positions at French multi-national company Danone, including Global Marketing Director for Functional Beverages, Director of Business Development in the Dairy Division Worldwide, and Marketing Director for New Ventures. Ms Ciprian is a director on three other boards: Zespri Ltd, Firstlight Foods, and ASPEQ Ltd.
Ms Ciprian is one of three New Zealanders on the trans-Tasman board. FSANZ was established to administer joint food standards governed by a statutory board of 12 people from New Zealand and Australia.
“Her strengths include being able to balance the key drivers to grow a food business and the need for effective regulation.
“She also has business experience in diverse international markets and cultures. These elements will all provide greater insight to the board, which propell our two nations Food Safety regulations forward,” Mr Bennett says.
“Food Safety is one of the foundations to drive the value of New Zealand food exports, so it’s important we have the best, brightest and most innovative people representing us at the highest levels. Ms Ciprian is that,” Mr Bennett says.
Ms Cirprian is appointed to the board from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2021. She is replacing Tony Newell who spent two terms on FSANZ.
Professor Ron Paterson has been appointed to lead an independent review of the operation of the Veterans’ Support Act 2014, Minister of Veterans’ Affairs David Bennett announced today.
“This review will ensure an external and impartial perspective on how the Act is working”, says Mr Bennett.
“I am pleased that somebody of Professor Paterson’s calibre has agreed to lead this important review”.
Professor Paterson is a respected Professor of Law at Auckland University, and a former Health and Disability Commissioner and Ombudsman. He has law degrees from Auckland and Oxford Universities, and has held Fulbright and Harkness Fellowships. Professor Paterson was awarded an ONZM for services to health in 2011.
“The Veterans’ Support Act 2014 is very different from the Act it replaced - the War Pensions Act 1954.
“It is important to ensure the Act is operating as intended and to consider if any amendments are necessary or desirable. The findings will be reported back to Government,” Mr Bennett says.
The review will look at whether it is meeting its purpose of providing rehabilitation and support to veterans who have been injured or become ill as a result of being placed in harm’s way in the service of New Zealand.
“The Government is committed to ensuring veterans receive the care they need, when they need it,” Mr Bennett says.
Details of the submissions process are on the New Zealand Defence Force website http://www.nzdf.mil.nz/corporate-documents/vsa, including when and where public forums will be held. You can email the Review at firstname.lastname@example.org
There has been a 33 per cent increase in uptake of Veterans Independence Programmes (VIP) over the past year, Veterans’ Affairs Minister David Bennett says.
The VIP enables New Zealand veterans to live independently in their homes
It can help with the cost of house and window cleaning, lawn mowing and garden maintenance, home care, medical alarms, podiatry and home alterations.
“Veterans fought for New Zealand’s independence and now the country can assist in providing for their independence,” Mr Bennett says.
“It is a positive step forward that the veterans, who sacrificed so much for our country, are now being assisted by Veterans’ Affairs,” Mr Bennett says.
Almost 3,500 veterans and spouses were receiving VIP services at the end of April 2017.
“That’s an increase of 33 per cent more veterans accessing 7000 individual services over 12 months,” Mr Bennett says.
“The Government introduced this package in the Veterans Support Act 2014 to further enable those who have enabled our country, so we are pleased veterans are taking up the support,” Mr Bennett says.
Veterans and their families who wish to know more about what services they are entitled to, can find out more information here: www.veteransaffairs.mil.nz/support/treatment-independence/vip/
An upgrade to Dunedin’s racecourse ambulance track is amongst the 19 projects the Government has recently contributed towards in racecourse safety, Racing Minister David Bennett announced today.
The various projects, which spanned from Whangarei to Roxburgh, received $313,055 in grants towards improving racecourse safety from the Racing Safety Development Fund.
Projects across New Zealand included track resurfacing, equine pool upgrades, and building construction to help make racecourses safer.
“Racecourses are an integral part of both urban and rural New Zealand communities. The Government is doing its bit by investing in safety,” Mr Bennett says.
“The fund plays an important role in supporting the safety of the racing industry for horses, dogs, staff and the wider public. In many areas these facilities are widely used by the community, and not just on race days,” Mr Bennett says.
The fund, which is managed by Internal Affairs provides $1 million annually to racecourse safety over two funding rounds.
There are two funding rounds every financial year, this is the second round for 2016/2017. The next round opens for applications on 15 August 2017 for six weeks.
“I would encourage all clubs and code bodies to apply to the fund for needed safety improvement assistance.
“A safer racecourse is a better racecourse,” Mr Bennett says.
Attached: Summary of successful applications
Media contact: Audrey Malone 021 191 9568
E nga waka (distinguished representatives)
E nga mana (esteemed guests)
Tena koutou katoa (greetings one and all)
I would like to acknowledge the following:
Ms Olga Cogen, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium
His Excellency Mr Leasi Papali’l Tommy Scanlan, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps
Thank you, Rear Admiral Ledson. You have vividly described the unprecedented events of the day, a hundred years ago, when our New Zealand troops proceeded up the long slope of the Messines Ridge under artillery and machine-gun fire, to the ruins of the little village at the top of the hill. I want to pay further tribute to the New Zealand Division which fought there.
It took the New Zealanders less than two hours to cross through No Man’s Land and up to the village which was their target. ‘You are a different being, fears seem to vanish once you are going on,’ Bob Belt wrote to his family. ‘It seems nothing to stop and bandage up your wounded mates, and help them back to a point of safety in a shell-hole.’
Once they reached the ridge, the New Zealanders immediately had to dig new trenches to defend themselves against artillery fire and expected counter-attacks. Cyril Molloy was there with an Otago infantry battalion. He said, ‘Our faces were black as soot, with little rivers marked in where the sweat ran down, making us the queerest, roughest lot imaginable, but weren’t we proud.’
Another young soldier up on the ridge that evening was John A. Lee, who later became a distinguished author and a Parliamentarian. When his men came under fire from a machine-gun post, Lee and two of his mates rushed it and captured two machine-guns and forty German prisoners.
Messines is regarded as a very successful military operation but we should never forget that this success came at a terrible price. Three thousand of our troops were wounded in the battle and 700 more were killed, mainly by German artillery in the days after the initial attack. One of them was Bob Belt, who had told his family about stopping to bandage up his wounded mates as they advanced up the ridge. After he reached it, Bob was hit by a shell and died some days later. He had just turned 25.
Today we remember men such as Bob Belt. We also mark the close relationship between New Zealand and Belgium – at the heart of which lies our participation in the First World War. While that relationship has developed to include wider political, economic and defence matters, the events at Messines, and later at Passchendaele, created a legacy of the warm relationships between our countries and our people.
As the sun rises in Messines, in a few hours’ time, Belgians and New Zealanders will be preparing to attend an early morning commemoration at the Messines Ridge British Cemetery, which includes a New Zealand memorial to the missing from that battle. Later, at sunset, a second commemoration will take place at the New Zealand Battle Memorial in Messines.
Here in New Zealand, and in Belgium, let us commemorate those who fought at the Battle of Messines. And let us celebrate the ongoing friendship between our two countries and our people.
The Ministry of Primary Industries is reviewing part of the Wine Act 2003 to improve the export wine industry, Minister of Food Safety David Bennett says.
“Ministry of Primary Industries is currently reviewing export requirements under the Wine Act 2003 to discover ways it can better serve the $1.6 billion export industry,” says Mr Bennett.
“The Wine Act has served us well, but it is over a decade old so we needed to make some tweaks to it.”
Grape wine is New Zealand’s sixth largest export commodity – exporting to over 90 countries and valued at $1.6 billion. There are 35,000 hectares of productive vineyards in New Zealand.
“Key requirements in the current export framework are over a decade old, and some parts of the industry have evolved significantly over that period.
“It was time to look at how we can rework part of the legislation to be effective in 2017’s economy.”
The review is part of MPI’s Wine Assurance Programme, which supports the wine industry. The programme provides technical advice on the safety and suitability requirements for production, processing, and sale of wine, gaining and maintaining market access, providing official government assurances for wine exports and contributing to the development of international wine standards and agreements.
“We are currently in the information gathering stage, and welcome feedback on what you believe is imperative for effective export regulations,” Mr Bennett says.
An agreement reached between New Zealand and Australian food safety authorities will see hemp seed legalised as food in New Zealand, Food Safety Minister David Bennett says.
Ministers at the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation in Adelaide today approved a standard to allow safe levels of low-THC hemp seed as a food.
“I stated my support at the Forum today and was pleased a change to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code was approved,” Mr Bennett says.
Mr Bennett says hemp has no psychoactive effect and has historically been used as a source of fibre and oil because it contains proteins, vitamins, minerals and fatty-acids.
“Low THC-hemp seed is nutritious, safe to eat and will add to the New Zealand economy.
“Hemp seeds have a growing global market currently worth around $1 billion. It is estimated it will initially generate between $10 million and $20 million in export revenue and create about 20 jobs.
“These seeds do not require either fertiliser or irrigation. Because of the low inputs, research has put the farm gate revenue for hemp seed between $4000 and $5000 per hectare.
“This is an exciting new industry for New Zealand.
“The growth of the seeds will also lead to job creation in New Zealand from processing the seed crop into oil, flour, protein and hulled hemp seeds,” Mr Bennett says.
Before the standard can take effect in New Zealand, changes to regulations under the Food Act, Misuse of Drugs Act, and Medicines Act will need to be made. This process may take up to 18 months.
Note to editors:A cross-agency working group led by the Ministry for Primary Industries, will be formed with the relevant agencies to work through the process of amending relevant legislation including consultation. Hemp seed oil, is already able to be sold in New Zealand. This permission will continue during the implementation period.