The development of the Veterans' Support Act 2014 (VSA)
In 2008, the Law Commission released a paper with suggestions for reform. They invited submissions from veterans and current military personnel. Their report, 'A New Support Scheme for Veterans: A Report on the Review of the War Pensions Act 1954', was tabled in the House in June 2010.
Read 'A New Support Scheme for Veterans: A Report on the Review of the War Pensions Act 1954'(external link)
It proposed replacing the War Pensions Act 1954 with new legislation, and, in particular, it recommended significant changes to the decision-making processes that were being used.
"The large subjective element in decision-making means that it is difficult to achieve consistency. Two decision-makers from different backgrounds with different opinions and experiences are likely to apply evidential provisions differently. Moreover, it is usually impossible to measure whether decision-makers are exercising the correct standard or not. The fact that this, like any decision-making, is subjective and unchallengeable, except by review or appeal, appears to cause much of the discontent among veterans regarding these decisions."
The legislation was replaced with the Veterans' Support Act 2014.
Read the Veterans' Support Act 2014 on legislation.govt.nz(external link)
In addition, the Law Commission recommended the adoption of Statement of Principles to allow the decision-maker to assess whether a condition is attributable to service.
They weren't alone in advocating for the introduction of Statement of Principles. Prominent veteran advocate, Archbishop Whakahuihui Vercoe also asked the Government to adopt the Australian Statement of Principles, which he believed to be fairer to all veterans.