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.

Active Service Veteran support

Comment from bjmarsh1 from here posted.


SUPPORT TO NZ VETERANS OF ACTIVE SERVICE

I have previously resisted going Public on this state of affairs because of my personal involvement, however, the case of Lt Col Bill Blaikie, an Afghanistan veteran, father of 3, battling with the effects of PTSD and needing treatment that is not available here, but is available in Australia.

This soldier is reduced to having to make a Public Appeal to raise the $40,000 needed for his treatment. He has been rejected by Veterans Affairs for support because they do not fund overseas treatment. The President of the RSA was sympathetic but no funds were forthcoming.

Now isn’t it time that you and I start asking the hard questions of why not Veterans Affairs? And to the RSA, what happened to the thousands of dollars collected on each annual poppy day especially for the welfare of our Veterans?

I have a personal problem with Veterans Affairs relating to their demand that I use the Health Insurance whichI have paid thousand of dollars over the years to ensure the health of my family, to pay for a mandatory procedure required to decide whether or not I could survive the treatment I required for an agreed attributable condition.

When I attended the Hospital to go through the procedure, I found I was sitting next to another officer who was undergoing the identical procedure. I asked him if he had Health Insurance and he confirmed he had the same insurance as I did. He then said that Veterans Affairs had approved payment for his procedure but he did not have to use his Health Insurance.

Now, I ask you is that fair, and was I receiving the same support for the same attributable condition?

I wrote to Veterans Affairs and pointed out that their policy of requiring veterans to use their personal health insurance for the treatment of attributable conditions was “Ultra Vires” i.e. Beyond their right to make such a decision and in support quoted Sect 10 of the Veterans Support Act 201 which says :

“(Section) 10 Functions to be performed and powers to be exercised in accordance with certain principles

Every person who performs any function or exercises any power under this Act must do so—

(a) in acknowledgement, on behalf of the community, of the responsibility for the injury, illness, or death of veterans as a result of them being placed in harm’s way in the service of New Zealand; and

(b) in accordance with the following principles:
(i) the principle of providing veterans, their spouses and partners, their children, and their dependants with fair entitlements:
(ii) the principle of promoting equal treatment of equal claims:
(iii) the principle of taking a benevolent approach to claims:
(iv) the principle of determining claims—
(A) in accordance with substantial justice and the merits of the claim; and
(B) not in accordance with any technicalities, legal forms, or legal rules of evidence.”

As this is a statement of mandatory guiding principles, I believe the principles of equal treatment of equal claims, the principle of taking a benevolent approach to claims, and the principle of determining claims with regard to the substantial justice and the merits of the complaint and not in accordance with any technicalities, legal forms, or legal rules of evidence far outweighs Veterans Affairs justification that they have the right to determine what and where treatment is to occur.

It is my considered view that Veterans Affairs are wrong both in law as well as in terms of natural justice. By their decision they have created separate classes of Veterans, those who have Health Insurance and those who do not!

What do you think?


Comments already on this topic here.

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