Letter to John Key re Lt Col Bill Blaikie

Following this post Active Service Veteran support  which makes the case of Lt Col Bill Blaikie, an Afghanistan veteran, father of 3, battling with the effects of PTSD and needing treatment” here is a letter to John Key from bjmarsh1 (posted as a comment here).


“Dear Prime Minister,

I wish to draw your attention to a serious failure in the unwritten contract between the Government and the servicemen they send off to active service. That unspoken contract which dates back to the Land Wars in New Zealand is that the Government will ensure that they provide the necessary treatment for battle casualties, and provide for affected dependants.

This contract if fundamental to the maintenance of morale and the fighting ethic of New Zealand servicemen. The consequences of a failure to keep the Government’s end of the bargain inevitably leads to a loss in combat efficiency and effectiveness. This is an elementary fact of warfare.

Lt Col Bill Blaikie a father of three children, as a consequence of his active service has received some treatment in New Zealand, but now needs specialised treatment for PTSD which is not available in New Zealand.but is available in Australia.

After being rejected by Veterans Affairs for support, as well as apparently the RSA, he is now reduced to an appeal to the public of New Zealand for $40,000 to fund his treatment.

I as a former senior Army Officer with active service experience including Vietnam, am horrified by a National Government’s failure to act, and am even more disappointed that the Minister in charge of Veterans Affairs was not available for comment. He lacks moral courage.

Shame on you all.”

The response I received was an automatic reply indicating that because this was a personal opinion I would not necessarily receive a response from the Prime Minister. This is not the sort of response I would expect from a caring Government to an experienced Officer especially on the day we as a country have committed our servicemen to a further two years of commitment in a hostile environment.

I call upon the Prime Minister to respond to my questions in Public. It is time to be honest John Key!

bjmarsh1


I expect that bj will have used his own name in his letter to Key.

The Lt Coll Bill Blaikie Givealittle page for those interested.
https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/onedollarwarriorsfightforbill

UPDATEL Currently 1,119 donors, $42,060 raised. That is a great result so far.

It includes these donations within the last hour:

RNZRSA $4,961.00

On behalf of RSAs around the country, we are stand with you. Thank you for your service.

Auckland RSA $6,250.00

On behalf of the Auckland RSA we are very greatful to you and your family for your service. You are not alone. Go well my friend.

Good to see.

But donations do not excuse the Government’s inaction.

Leave a comment

42 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  22nd June 2016

    Think about sending a copy to Stuff, Herald, Scoop? TS, KB, Trotter, Gordon McLaughlin, and any other worthwhile forums you (or anyone else here) can think of, bj. You can ask them not to publish your name should you wish.

    Reply
    • Halliver

       /  22nd June 2016

      someone should proof read for grammical errors first.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  22nd June 2016

        @ Halliver. Good point. In yours, grammatical.

        In bj’s:
        “This contract is fundamental…”

        “…inevitably lead to a loss…

        “Lt Col Bill Blaikie, a father…”

        “…not available in New Zealand,but is available in Australia.”

        “I, as a former senior Army Officer…”

        Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  22nd June 2016

        There are many more, but I can’t be bothered.

        Open letters-do they ever achieve anything ? And an open letter without a real name would lack conviction. How would anyone know that the writer was who they said they were ?

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  22nd June 2016

          ‘What they said they were’ would have been better.

          Reply
          • Kitty, when it is vital to the strength of my submissions I will make public my name. In the meantime as a 98% disabled , and basically housebound war veteran, I would rather not deal with the scum who may use that information to annoy me and my wife of nearly 50 years. Perhaps you understand?
            I also would like to point out, the publication of my letter to the Prime Minister was printed as a “Comment” on this blog as stated by Pete George, and as such was part of this blog’s conversation. If I want to send an open letter I would choose the MSM media.
            But I forgive you. Peace!!

            Reply
  2. Halliver

     /  22nd June 2016

    The best way to hit the government on the issue is to campaign to young people that the government doesn’t have your back so don’t join the military. Once they see a lack of kids joining they will be forced to act. Because there is no military without the kids, 80 percent of defence is made up of 17 to 25 year old.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  22nd June 2016

      Also good point. Will you take on the job?

      Reply
      • Dougal

         /  22nd June 2016

        Already fulfilled his role. Sniper, Secret Service, Intel Officer..More than fulfilled his obligations as a servant of the queen. 🙂

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  22nd June 2016

          You forgot his SAS training-as a trainer, I mean, not a trainee. I didn’t know about the Secret Service.

          Nobody is going to not go into the army-good money, good training, good pension-over one person’s problems with PTSD. What good would it do, anyway ?

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  22nd June 2016

            How long were you in the 😎 military Kitty <3, and which service? o_O

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  22nd June 2016

              Who’s asking other people for information now?

            • Gezza

               /  22nd June 2016

              I’m asking the apparent servicewoman herself, Alan. It’s the quickest way to find out the details.

            • Gezza

               /  22nd June 2016

              Who’s asking other people for information now?
              Jesus. Couldn’t you tell from my handle & avatar?

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  22nd June 2016

              I never was and have never claimed to be, unlike Halloliver. There is nothing anywhere that can be construed as my having been a servicewoman-I am not a Baroness Munchausen. I can’t imagine what would make anyone think that I had made such a bizarre claim-I have said enough about my past to make it impossible for me to get away with this, even if I wanted to. ‘apparent servicewoman’ ? Why do you make such an extraordinary statement ?

            • Gezza

               /  22nd June 2016

              Sorry Kitty. :/

              You just seemed to know so much about the NZ military. I assumed you’d served in it at some stage, & possibly suffered from & got over PTSD. 😐

              Apologies for getting that wrong. o_O

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  22nd June 2016

              Oh, come on ! Knowing that it’s good pay etc is hardly classified information, (there are ads on television about what a great career it is) and it seems unlikely that anyone would change their mind about joining up because of this story. Would you, if you were 18 and thinking of joining up ?

              Knowing that service people have a good pension doesn’t require personal experience of being in the forces. I know that asbestos can be a killer, although I have never worked with it. I know that doctors have good incomes although I have never been one. I know what freezing works workers do, but I have never worked as one. Don’t be silly, please. Do you only know about things that you have done yourself ?

              There is plenty of help available here for PTSD; I have just googled it. BJ is giving the impression that anyone suffering it is on their own-which is not the case. I don’t know why anyone would need to go to Australia for something that they could have here for nothing.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  22nd June 2016

              The good pay etc is common knowledge-there are ads on television about what a great career the services are.It’s hardly classified information about the pensions. Nor is it classified information about burial sites for veterans.

              Do you only know about things that you have done yourself ? I know that doctors have good incomes, that freezing workers kill animals and cut them up, that naval officers often work on ships and the air force work with planes, that undertakers work with dead bodies-but I have never been any of these things. Nor have I been an upholsterer, a chemist or an architect, but I know what they do and could make a guess as to whose income is the highest.

              There is plenty of help here for PTSD-googling it will show this. BJ skims over this and one might almost have the impression that it’s not there. Bill Blaikie seems to have had some help, from what he told the newspapers, and as he is ‘well on the way to recovery’ (his words) it can’t have been wholly ineffective.

            • Gezza

               /  22nd June 2016

              Knowing that it’s good pay etc is hardly classified information, (there are ads on television about what a great career it is) and it seems unlikely that anyone would change their mind about joining up because of this story. Would you, if you were 18 and thinking of joining up ?

              I know from googling there is only a limited amount of psychiatric/psychological help available for PTSD sufferers here, and none of it is by, or involves support groups, military-service PTSD sufferers or specialists.

              No way. I wouldn’t join up. My father was a machine-gunner, MID & promoted in the field for rescuing a wounded comrade under fire—as was common in WWII. The comrade who accompanied him was shot in the head & died instantly before they got back to their dugout, The man he rescued survived. He vowed he would never do it again.

              Dad was later invalided home with a shattered leg from Monte Casino, after a first stint fighting the Afrika Korps in the Middle East & North Africa. The surgeons here wanted to amputate his leg, but he refused and was lucky to end up after 2 years of operations with just one leg a half-inch shorter than the other, & his sanity intact.

              He didn’t talk much about it. But as a 16 year old cadet I experienced in the butts on a shooting range what it was like to be on the wrong end of machine gun fire. No thank you. Join the military and you could end up dead or psychologically damaged from action in a war zone. And these days you might not get the all the help you need.

    • That does not sound very practical Halliver, the sort of recruits we attract would see your propaganda for its worth. The best recruiters are the Dads who grew up during CMT and National Service days who know how much value the Services added to them. Having commanded National Servicemen during and after training, including a very inspiring All Black Captain, I was often stopped by people who recognised me and commented on how much they enjoyed and learned from their NSTU days.

      Reply
  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  22nd June 2016

    I endorse contacting the papers, tv and also local MPs. BJ has the background to make a compelling story if he is willing to use it. It should be attached.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  22nd June 2016

      It’s already been in the papers, I don’t about television. There were long articles with photos.

      Reply
  4. Golf39

     /  22nd June 2016

    Well said BJ.

    Reply
  5. MaureenW

     /  22nd June 2016

    So pleased to see that the fund raising has been successful. I too, am disgusted with the NZ Government for ignoring the needs of this Serviceman. I too hope it goes all the way, they deserve to be shamed.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  22nd June 2016

      In the article I read, Bill Blaikie said that he was ‘well on the way to recovery’. What is happening here ?

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  22nd June 2016

        Ring him up, email him, or write to him & ask.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  22nd June 2016

          If he is well on the way to recovery, why is the treatment still needed ?

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  22nd June 2016

            Why are you asking me? Why aren’t you asking him? o_O

            Have you finished visiting all the bridges in Auckland & counting up the people living under them yet? o_O

            Why do you so often seem to expect other people to get you the information you’re seeking? :/

            Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  22nd June 2016

            Gezza, it’s a rhetorical question based upon a very detailed account given by Bill Blaikie himself in which his exact words were ‘well on the way to recovery.’

            It’s not like you to be so spiteful.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  22nd June 2016

              Kitty 😮 ! They were just non-rhetorical questions 😦 . I’m deeply hurt as well now. 😦

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  22nd June 2016

              Entirely self-inflicted, Gezza.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  22nd June 2016

              Thank you, Alan.

            • Gezza

               /  22nd June 2016

              Fuck it. I’ll just tough it out—reckon I’ll survive, Al. 8-).

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  22nd June 2016

              Did your teachers?

            • Gezza

               /  22nd June 2016

              The chaplain & the chemistry teacher was probably glad to see the back of me, Doc. It must’ve taken a bit of time to fix the lab. I imagine they did this when they heard I wasn’t coming back after Form 6:

      • Kitty, he may think he is well on the way to recovery, but I know he has a way to go, and I will go out of my way to help him through the process where after the trauma he needs time and support to recover. If I could give you a comparison, it is like being an alcoholic on a cure, one wrong step and you are back to where you came from. He has a focus, his family, and his wife. I am so pleased that the NZ community have come together to fund this extra treatment so that his family is not out of pocket. They are the ones who have had the burden to carry.

        Reply
  6. I do apologise for my failure to spell check and grammar check my letter to the Prime Minister, I shall endeavour to do better next time I write to him. Yes, I did use my full name in my letter to the Prime Minister who is aware of my support for the National Government, That is something I am not ashamed of. However, my support for the National Party in this particular case has been over-ridden by my dedication towards support for our young soldiers (as well as the old ones), and I shall be fearless in my defence of their entitlements for succour when they are damaged as a consequence of their Service for our wonderful country.
    The Prime Minister, as I said before has acknowledged my letter, and quite rightly passed it to the Minister for Veterans Affairs to answer. We shall see later what he says.

    I am delighted to see the responses from the National and Provincial RSA’s who have come to the party at last. Perhaps they should have said at the beginning that they would look and see what they could do, rather than have to bat off criticism from people like me. Last but not least, thanks to all of the members of the Public who have contributed to help a fellow soldier in his hour of need. It shows the Kiwi te ahi kaa spirit is still alive and doing well. I wish Bill Blaikie God speed on his way to Australia and hope he can return at peace with himself and able to function properly as a father and husband. As well, hopefully he will bring back information on how to succeed in treating PTSD as well as up to date approaches for treating any person suffering from this curse that has been with us since the stone age so that he can pay back to the community for their wonderful support. There are a lot of people out there who can feel good within themselves..

    Reply
    • Joe Bloggs

       /  22nd June 2016

      Good on you BJ, but IMHO there is no particular reason to apologise to those grammar nazis amongst us who would rather fixate on style than the substance of your open letter…

      I admire and applaud your actions…

      Reply
  7. I also have to respond to Kitty’s points. I am a sufferer of PTSD for which after enduring some years of nightmares, huge depression and hyper-reactions to loud noises or any surprise encounters with people or animals, I sought help from Veterans Affairs who came to the party and arranged psychiatric examinations and treatment, and I was lucky enough to be given great advice from a psychiatrist who was a specialist in the treatment of PTSD. Like all others, I still suffer some of the consequences of active service, but I now feel equipped to deal with it, with the help of my wife and family, who also were affected by my situation. Not everyone is built the same as me and they have had a tougher time than I getting to the point of control and balance. Kitty the pay is adequate, at the higher ranks but some of the lower ranks need a top up. All sorts of changes have been made to conditions since I left after 26 years service in the Infantry, and some of them have done away with previous privileges. Do not believe everything that you see in the movies or on TV. Yes, there are some good resources available on the Internet, but they are not the same as specialised care by properly trained medical staff. In my experience, you can’t do this own your own.
    Unfortunately excessive consumption of the demon drink is a characteristic of a lot of PTSD veterans, and so detoxification becomes one of the necessary steps towards being in control of your situation. We hear some say get a life and harden up. My response to that is “talks cheap”. Gezza, I am sure you would be there with all the rest of us if called on to Defend the integrity of our homeland, like your Dad who did his bit.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  22nd June 2016

      My dad volunteered to defend Britain, BJ, well before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour. I wouldn’t volunteer to defend another country unless my country was directly under threat of imminent & significant attack. I would resist conscription to defend another country in any circumstance than the latter. I would never agree to fight in another country’s unjust or unprovoked or imperialistic wars. I know how fortunate I am to have never faced the prospect of conscription, and to now never be required to.

      I would defend myself, my loved ones, and my country, at the drop of a hat. I think we all would.

      Reply

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