There’s no rest for members of the Opposition.
Maggie Barry, National spokesperson for Veteran Affairs, was recently in the Howick at the invitation of Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown.
She started the day addressing the SuperBlues, (National Party’s advisory group for senior citizens) about her role as National’s Seniors Spokesperson and the issues facing seniors.
The former television host dropped in at Gulf Views Rest Home to talk to residents and even answered questions on how to best preserve peas!
From knowing how to preserve peas to questions on conservation and heritage, elder abuse, and complexities of veteran affairs, Ms Barry soon discovered that when a former television presenter of a garden show turns politician, you can be questioned about anything under the sun.
Dropping in at the Howick RSA at noon, she also had a quick catch up with senior veterans and Councillor Sharon Stewart.
Talking to Army and Navy veterans on the recently released ‘Veterans Support Act Review’, she made notes on issues that veterans are concerned about and their expectation that this “cross party” supported Review will fix.
Veterans who served in the Commonwealth Far East Strategic Reserve in 1960s and 1970s are frustrated despite best efforts to get ‘Operational Service’ under the Veterans Support Act and the appropriate Medallic Recognition.
The veterans stressed that it is time for all service on the Far East Service which includes the South China Sea to be fully recognised
They said this service was nearly half a century ago and they have waited too long and consider it is not fair that they cannot access fully the services the Veterans Support Act Provides
“NZ First has a lot of respect for senior veterans but none of them are doing anything that they promised,” said Ms Barry.
Talking to Scott Adams/manager, secretary Howick RSA, she also wanted to know how the oldest ex-service organisations formed in 1916 to care for the needs of the soldiers returning from WW1 can be better sustained.
“Howick RSA is one of the two or three RSAs in Auckland that have an employed Welfare Officer and is doing well,” she said.
The challenge now is for all RSAs to get contemporary veterans (younger generation) to realise the benefits of joining the RSA.