Veterans' Affairs New Zealand


PO Box 5146
Wellington 6145


P: 0800 483 8372
F: 04 495 2080


Viet Nam Veterans

Government's Response to the Joint Working Group on the Concerns of Viet Nam Veterans

In December 2006, Defence Minister Phil Goff and Veterans Affairs Minister Rick Barker announced details of the government's response to the recommendations of the Joint Working Group report on the concerns of Viet Nam veterans.

A formal memorandum of understanding was signed between the government and representatives of Viet Nam veterans, the Ex-Vietnam Services Association (EVSA) and the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association (RNZRSA).

The agreed package is wide ranging and acknowledges in concrete terms that service personnel in Viet Nam and their families have been exposed to and continue to be affected by a toxic environment.

The package will deliver benefits close to $30 million, and includes:

Apology And Acknowledgement:

  • A formal public apology to Viet Nam Veterans and their families.

Reeves and McLeod reports:

  • Acknowledge the Reeves (1999) and McLeod (2001) reports were based on flawed assumptions and do not inform current government policy or decisions.

Welcome Home Ceremony:

  • New Zealand Defence Force to host parade and welcome home ceremony.
  • Formal Statement by NZDF acknowledging the role played by Veterans, the treatment they received on return to New Zealand, and the sacrifice of those Veterans killed in Viet Nam.

Oral History Programme:

  • Funding through Ministry of Culture and Heritage for an oral history programme beginning in 2007 to record accounts of the experiences of Viet Nam Veterans.

Increased Medallic Recognition:

  • Recommend to Her Majesty the Queen that she approve for acceptance and wear South Vietnamese gallantry awards given to New Zealanders.
  • A Review of the medallic recognition awarded to Viet Nam Veterans and of the Theatre Honours awarded to the 1 RNZIR Battalion.

Ex Gratia Payments For Viet Nam Veterans:

  • Ex-gratia payment of $40,000 for Veterans suffering a prescribed condition.
  • Ex-gratia payment of $25,000 for spouse or partner of Veteran who has died as a result of prescribed condition

Ex-Gratia Payments for Viet Nam Veterans; and Programme for Children of Viet Nam Veterans (pdf 31 kb)

War Disablement Pensions:

  • All Veterans, of any conflict, diagnosed with a terminal illness which is a result of operational service will receive pension equal to 160% of current War Disablement Pension.
  • Substantial and substantive review of War Pensions Act to provide improved service delivery for all Veterans.
  • Expert panel established to advise Crown on rates, types and eligibility criteria of war pensions.

Programme For Children Of Viet Nam Veterans:

  • Ex-gratia payment up to $30,000 to each child who suffers from any of five accepted conditions.
  • Ex-gratia payment of $30,000 to each family who has lost a child to one of five accepted conditions.
  • Review of services for children and grand-children of Viet Nam Veterans in other countries.

Ex-Gratia Payments for Viet Nam Veterans; and Programme for Children of Viet Nam Veterans (pdf 31 kb)

Ongoing Research:

  • Crown will access, monitor and where appropriate sponsor research into the intergenerational effects of dioxins.

EVSA Youth Development Trust:

  • One off grant of $250,000 to EVSA Youth Development Trust which assists children of Viet Nam Veterans.

Veterans' Card:

  • Card issued to all Viet Nam Veterans to allow easy identification by medical professionals.
  • Children and grand children of Viet Nam Veterans to received similar card.

National Register:

  • Crown to establish a national register of Viet Nam Veterans and their children and grandchildren.

Provision Of Information:

  • Veterans' Affairs New Zealand to make available to Veteran groups and health professionals medical information to assist with treatments and diagnosis.
  • Crown to work with Veteran's Homes to establish centres of excellence for information on and treatment of conditions prevalent amongst veterans.

Veterans' Affairs New Zealand Review:

  • Review of all aspects of operations of Veterans' Affairs New Zealand.

Medical Assessments:

  • Viet Nam Veterans funded for a one off comprehensive medical examination and a specialist visit.

Trust Fund For Viet Nam Veterans And Families:

  • Crown endowment of $7 million to create trust fund to provide assistance to Veterans and families.
  • Interest from endowment sum will provide for ex-gratia payments to be administered by trustees.
  • Exact status, form and criteria of trust yet to determined.

Joint Implementation Group:

  • Joint Implementation Group representing wide range of agencies will oversee implementation of measures announced today.
  • Group will convene in early 2007.

Official Documents

Official information relating to the government's response to the concerns of Viet Nam veterans are available for download in Adobe PDF format only. If you are unable to read Adobe PDF format please contact the Office of the Minister of Defence on 04 470 6553 to arrange an alternative medium.

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This page was last reviewed 4 September, 2014 and is current.