Monday, October 15, 2012

NZ Screws Another War Vet

An injured NZ Army veteran has been refused a veteran's pension because he now lives in the Cook Islands.
70yr.old William Framhein served two years in Malaya and Borneo and did four six-month tours of duty in Vietnam. His leg was injured during training in Malaya and "keeps bubbling up like a balloon" whenever he wears shoes. So in 2004 he and his wife returned to the Cook Islands where he can go barefooted. But our govt refused him a veteran's pension when he turned 65 in 2007.
Auckland councillor Mike Lee, who has known the family for 40yrs, has appealed all the way up to the Prime Munster and the Gov-General, but has been rejected at every step.
Successive Cooks governments have lobbied NZ for more than a decade to get veteran's pensions and NZ superannuation payable to Cook Islanders who have worked most of their lives in NZ. They too just get rejected. (Although the Cook Islands are self-governing in domestic affairs, they are part of the Realm of New Zealand and the 14,000 residents are NZ citizens).
At most, a few hundred Cooks people would qualify for NZ super if the rules were changed, and William Framhein believes he is the sole NZ war veteran living in the islands. He was refused the veteran's pension because he did not meet two requirements - living in NZ at the time of applying, and living in NZ for at least 5yrs since the age of 50.
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says the law did not give her discretion to exempt anyone from the legal requirements for veteran's pensions. Paula: FIND A WAY!!!
RSA (Returned and Services Association) prez Lieutenant-General Don McIver says if the only way to give Mr Framhein a pension is to change the law, then the law should be changed: "This guy served in Vietnam and went back again three times. In my view it warrants special consideration."
He served for us. He suffered for us.
This country has a moral obligation to see Bill Framhein right.

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