Veterans whose quality of life was compromised by exposure to chemical defoliants such as Agent Orange during their service in Vietnam were especially acknowledged in a speech by Lynette Stankovich, wife of Vietnam War veteran Padre Wally Te Ua.
In 2008, former prime minister Helen Clark publicly acknowledged New Zealand veterans’ war service and the fact they were exposed to toxic chemicals and that many struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), said Ms Stankovich.
Veterans who wondered about their “unfinished business” following a 2013 high court hearing over Veterans Affairs New Zealand’s (VANZ) obligations were not forgotten, she said.
Access to GPs and the hospital in a timely manner and “doing your bit to get on top of things” was the main topic of the day.
“What affects the veteran at home is stressful and has a flow-on effect to the whanau, especially those who are the primary caregivers.”